Sponsored Content

How prepared are you? Let Attorney Anthony A. Nozzolillo, Esq. help you make sure your Estate Planning (Wills, Trusts, Testamentary Provisions) is in order


Life can come at you fast—from every different angle, every single day—and if you aren’t prepared should something happen to you, it can affect those you love and take care of.

Will titles to your properties revert the way you intend? Are beneficiaries specifically named and designated as far as bank accounts, retirement funds, etc.? Leave nothing to chance and be prepared with the help of Long Island Attorney Anthony A. Nozzolillo, Esq.

“After the COVID pandemic, I was amazed and perplexed as to how many people failed to have their post-mortem affairs in order,” Nozzolillo explained. “These were not single people in their early 20’s—but married people in their 50-60s with children and grandchildren.”

Without the proper designations, loved ones may not be able to access bank accounts, life insurance policies or properties.

Nozzolillo shared with us where families often run into issues and how to ensure your loved ones won’t.

Checking and Savings Accounts

Too often, bank accounts fail to have Transfer Upon Death (T.O.D.) or For Benefit Of (F.B.O) designations that clarify the account holder’s interest in the event of an incident.

Without a conclusive designation, a bank will not be able to freely transfer funds from a deceased person's account to any other person.

If proper contingency plans are not in place, it could take months, if not years to have these funds allocated to the proper heirs. During this wait time these funds are essentially stuck in an account and cannot generate interest or be re-invested.

Life Insurance Policies, IRAs and 401K plans

Many people fail to check to make certain that they have designated beneficiaries for their Life Insurance Policies, IRAS, or 401K Plans, etc.

In this instance, if a beneficiary is not named upon the account holder’s death, the company that is the custodian of the funds can stake a claim for the money in the account.

“The rebuttal presumption is that failure to preemptively name a Beneficiary meant that the person or employee wanted the company to have that person's accumulated work monies after their passing,” Nozzolillo said.

Real Property

Land and Homes are referred to as “Real Property”, and they can also be impacted without the proper provisions in place.

“Recently enacted Title Insurance Regulations have complicated the ability to sell a home where deceased owners failed to have Testamentary Provisions in place, like a Will or a Trust”, Nozzolillo explained. This assumes the deceased owner did not hold title jointly with another person or spouse.

It used to be that the “heirs at law” of the deceased (wife, children, etc.) simply needed to provide “Heirship Affidavits” to establish they were in a legal position suitable to sell or convey title to the home.

However, Nozzolillo explained that recent New York State Land Title (NYSLTA) regulations state that Heirship Affidavits can only be utilized if the deceased has been dead for at least two (2) years.

If this is not the case, then “Letters of Testamentary” (if a Will is left) or “Letters of Administration” (if no Will/Trust was left) need be procured to allow for conveyance of the Real Property.

This can take time as the Surrogates Courts are extremely backlogged, meaning closing on the home may not occur for many months after the person’s passing; all the while the mortgage payments, property taxes, property insurance (and/or flood) need to be paid each month until the home is sold.

“Long story short, take the time to reassure your Testamentary Affairs are in order,” Nozzolillo said.

His advice? Consult the Deed to your home, plan to have a Revocable or Irrevocable Trust and/or Will prepared to assure that your assets end up where you want them to after you’re gone.

“You worked hard for all your Real Property and Personal Assets—make certain that designation and direction as to where they go are in accordance with your specific wishes and desires,” he added. “You will have no one to blame but yourself if you are not prepared.”

For a free consultation regarding Wills/Trust/Estate Planning contact Anthony A. Nozzolillo, Esq. at 516-581-4713, via email at anthony@nozzzolillo.com or visit his website at www.nozzolillo.com.

The content of this article is for informational purposes and not to be construed as legal advice. No Attorney/Client relationship of any kind is created herewith