162 W 56th St, #506, New York, NY 10019

New York & New Jersey

Practice Areas

Practice Areas

Elder Law

We aim to provide advice and assistance to our clients who together with their families are faced with difficult issues surrounding aging and prolonged illness to enable them to live with dignity in the twilight of their lives.

Our services include but are not limited to estate planning, asset protection, Medicaid planning and guardianship proceedings. We prepare Powers of Attorney, Health Care Directives, Halachic Health Care Proxies, Do-Not-Resuscitate Orders, Last Wills and Testaments, Living Trusts, and Third Party Trusts.

Lissner & Lissner LLP developed a unique asset protection plan for Survivors of the Holocaust and their heirs called Victims of Nazi Persecution Restitution Trusts® by which eligible persons are able to preserve a significant portion of their assets in the event they require long-term health care. 

Estate Administration Lawyer  

Skilled Legal Help with Probate Matters from Reputable Estate Administration Lawyers in New York 

Estate administration is the process of winding down the business and personal affairs of an individual after they have passed away. Lissner & Lissner LLP provides experienced, and trusted estate administrative services as well as personal legal care to meet the needs of family members during challenging times.

Regardless of the size and complexity of an estate plan, experience and knowledge are needed to administer an estate, manage associated trusts, and ensure the wishes of the deceased are carried out. Our law firm professionally supports your family throughout the probate process. 

Trusted help with estate administration and probate in New York

When a family member passes away, their estate is processed through probate or Surrogate’s Court, to ensure that beneficiaries receive bequests, accounts are closed, and debts are paid. The person who is named in the estate plan as executor or personal representative has the legal duty to accurately and carefully ensure the estate plan is carried out.

If an executor, or fiduciary, is not named in the will, a family member may come forward for appointment by the court. While legal counsel for the executor is not required, it is a good idea to work with an estate administration attorney familiar with the laws of the state in which the estate is probated.

The presence of a will is critical for the division of a personal estate. If an individual does not create a will or estate plan, their possessions, assets, and wealth will be divided according to the laws of the state, not the wishes of the individual. A will is the opportunity and right of each person to provide direction and make decisions about the distribution of their estate after death.

While the specific tasks of each executor depend on the unique nature of the estate in probate, responsibilities of the executor usually include:

  • Identify: At the outset, an executor creates an inventory of the estate. The fiduciary must investigate the estate, review the estate plan, and create a list of possessions, assets, accounts, and other instruments that are owned by the deceased. This represents the entirety of the estate, including debt owed.
  • Valuation: It is the job of the executor to obtain appraisals, retain specialists, and verify the value of the estate.
  • Distribute: When the value and debt of the estate is identified, the executor pays the expenses of the estate, including any debt to creditors. Assets and the wealth of the estate that are not already the subject of a trust are distributed to beneficiaries.
  • Wind-down: An accounting and final tax return for the estate is prepared and filed by the executor. If there are no challenges, the documentation is accepted and the estate is settled.

Throughout the probate process, there may be legal and other challenges made against the executor or the estate. Our firm provides specialized financial, valuation, and litigation services to fiduciaries involved with estate administration. The settling of an estate often triggers the transfer of assets through a trust. We provide skilled legal counsel to ensure trust conditions are met and that the executor is protected from legal challenge or trust dispute. An effective estate plan relieves worry about caring for loved ones going forward. We help you avoid and handle will contests, and ensure assets and gifts are distributed according to the wishes of the decedent. 

Our estate planning attorneys support your family and the next generation 

Lissner & Lissner LLP offers unsurpassed legal service to individuals and families during the estate administration process. When you need personal support and highly qualified representation on estate administration or litigation matters, we can help. Contact Us or call (212) 307-1499 today.

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Estate Planning Attorney  

Skilled Legal Help with Estate Planning Attorneys in New York City 

An effective estate plan guides you, your family, and your finances safely into the future.

As an established law firm serving communities in New York, Lissner & Lissner LLP provides custom strategies and solutions to protect your financial picture and carry out your financial goals.

Estate planning is more than ensuring your family pays as little tax as possible when you pass. A good estate plan safeguards your wealth, employs tools and trusts to ensure family members receive the benefits you wish, and it can even help an adult child avoid losing their inheritance if a marriage ends.

Estate plans are important at any age. All persons over the age of 18 should create an Advanced Directive to allow those you love to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated by injury or illness. If you pass away without a valid will, your assets and estate will be distributed by the state through a potentially lengthy probate process. A well-crafted estate plan is good for wealth, health, and the future. Our estate planning team can help.

An estate plan that responds to your unique circumstances, needs, and wishes

Our law firm has worked for decades to create estate and trust plans to ensure the assets and wealth of our clients are protected and transferred as they wish. As trusted family attorneys, most of our clients arrive through referral from former clients, social workers, respected attorneys, and other professionals.

Just as each individual is unique, so is their estate plan and their personal wishes for their estate and the assets they have inherited or built over a lifetime. We work closely with you to understand your needs and wants, and develop an estate plan that reduces the time and cost of estate administration while carrying out the decisions you make.

Not everyone uses the same tools and trusts in their estate plan, but some instruments we will discuss with you include:

  • Wills: Your will records your final directions and wishes. A will is a legal document that must reflect the laws of the state in which it is made in order to be valid. Your will identifies your executor, where and how your wealth will be transferred, and other details, including the desired guardianship of minor or special needs children. An invalid will can be challenged or set aside, which means your last wishes will not be carried out as you planned.
  • Trusts: A trust is created through a trust agreement. There are different types of trusts that you and your attorney may review to best serve your needs. A trust can transfer wealth to another person to allow them to administer or receive the wealth through the protected structure of a trust.
  • Advanced health care directives: Along with Powers of Attorney for financial and health care decisions, your Advanced Directive lets you make your own end of life care decisions. If you become incapacitated, your health care proxy carries out your wishes, often providing comfort to your family knowing that the decisions were yours.

An estate plan provides stability and comfort knowing important decisions will be carried out. Too often people put off creating a will, or estate plan, leaving their families to endure further difficulty and financial challenge when loved ones pass away without a plan in place. 

Trusted legal help in New York to create the estate plan you want 

Lissner & Lissner LLP offers unsurpassed legal service to individuals and families during the estate administration process. When you need personal support and highly qualified representation on estate administration or litigation matters, we can help. Contact Us or call (212) 307-1499 today.

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Medicaid Planning

Experienced New York Medicaid Attorneys Help You Plan for the Future 

Planning for the future includes making informed choices about the types of health care that will be available to you as you age.

With decades of service to families in New York, Lissner & Lissner LLP helps you understand Medicare and Medicaid services and the importance of planning for eligibility.

Medicaid is a federal program administered through each state, like New York, to provide health care services to eligible individuals with low income or disabilities. Many seniors trust that Medicare will pay for long-term nursing care they might need as they age, only to discover they misunderstood the services offered by this federal program.

With the skyrocketing cost of health care, all seniors should be fully informed about Medicaid and how it can pay expenses for eligible seniors that might otherwise bankrupt a family. With extensive experience with Medicaid and estate planning, our goal is to create a plan that gives you proper care, offers peace of mind, and limits the exposure of your spouse or family to claims and lawsuits brought by the Department of Social Services.

Medicaid planning in New York—how does it work?

Your aging process may result in the need for more care than you can provide for yourself or family members can provide for you.

The cost of care in a nursing home facility can easily reach $150,000 per year. Although many couples and families work hard and save over a lifetime, the cost of care for a family member can quickly wipe out a nest egg or planned inheritance.

For eligible seniors, Medicaid can pay for some home care services as well as longer term custodial care in a nursing home. These benefits are often confused with Medicare, which may pay for a long-term care hospital—but not for longterm residential nursing support. This important difference can be managed through carefully structuring assets to allow for Medicaid eligibility if it becomes necessary over time.

How we can help you plan for the Medicaid care you may need

An effective Medicaid plan protects a spouse living at home, your estate, and qualifies you for long-term residential nursing care when needed. To qualify for Medicaid, you need not be impoverished, yet there are important points to understand:

  • Medicaid considers almost all of your wealth, bank accounts, investments, and assets when determining your eligibility for the program.       
  • If you qualify for Medicaid, a spouse living at home is allowed a limited income that follows state guidelines.
  • Some of your assets will be exempt when Medicaid considers your eligibility, including one vehicle, your residence (unless you have a great deal of equity), pre-paid burial contracts, some household and personal goods, restitution funds and some assets and value held in trusts or certain qualified plans.

Our legal team evaluates your assets, retirement, and other accounts to create a plan that allows you to qualify for Medicaid if needed—without destabilizing the financial wellbeing of your family. 

Contact us for experienced, helpful legal counsel on Medical planning for your family 

A well-considered Medicaid eligibility plan is an important step to take care of your future and your family. Located in midtown Manhattan, Lissner & Lissner LLP has been helping individuals and families for more than 65 years. Contact us or call (212) 307-1499 when you have questions about Medicaid, estate planning, or elder law. 

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Real Estate

We represent our clients with respect to selling and purchasing residential properties, including single family homes, condominiums and cooperative apartments. Additionally, when appropriate, we advise and work together with our clients to transfer of their assets, including real property and coops, to comport with elder and estate plans. From drafting and preparing the contract through closing, we help our clients navigate through this complicated process while making sure that their rights are protected. 

Contact us for experienced, helpful legal counsel on Medical planning for your family 

A well-considered Medicaid eligibility plan is an important step to take care of your future and your family. Located in midtown Manhattan, Lissner & Lissner LLP has been helping individuals and families for more than 65 years. Contact us or call (212) 307-1499 when you have questions about Medicaid, estate planning, or elder law. 

Restitution/Pension/Property Claims for Victims of Nazi Persecution

For more than 50 years, our firm has assisted Survivors of the Holocaust to file applications for different kind of restitution, including but limited to restitution/ghetto pensions, widow’s pensions, increase in pension due to deteriorating health condition, property claims, and other restitution claims.

We have established good relationships with the pension and restitution authorities in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium, and Poland. Thanks to our multilingual staff, we have been able to efficiently communicate and correspond with the offices overseas and make sure that the application process goes smoothly.

Lawyer is Signing the Contract

Estate & Medicaid Planning for Victims of Nazi Persecution & Their Heirs

In 1999, as a result of our deep involvement with Survivors of the Holocaust and their families, as well as our deep commitment to this community, L&LLP developed a unique asset protection plan called the Victim of Nazi Persecution Restitution Trusts® by which eligible persons are able to preserve a significant portion of their assets in the event that they require long-term health care.

Survivors and their families throughout the United States have benefitted from this Trust, which was considered so important and unique that information about establishing such an instrument was requested by the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Since its inception, Victim of Nazi Persecution Restitution Trusts® has been recommended to Survivors by numerous social service agencies and organizations throughout the United States and by other attorneys and agencies advocating for Survivors and their families.

Late in 2014, after 15 years of advocacy, L&LLP was able to secure an Emergency Order from the Social Security Administration stating that, indeed, inherited funds which were received because of Nazi persecution would continue to be treated as exempt assets to benefit heirs of Survivors. To this end, we have formalized this plan by creating the Trust for Inherited Payments to Victims of Nazi Persecution®, also known as the Victims of Nazi Persecution Successor Trust®. 

Reparation payments received as a result of Nazi persecution are exempt from attachment by Medicaid, and there is no better way of protecting these assets from the cost of long-term care than the creation and funding of Victims of Nazi Persecution Restitution Trusts® and Successor Restitution Trusts. 

Wooden Judge on Book with Justice Lady

Illustrations of Clients Who Benefitted by Establishing a Victims of Nazi Persecution Restitution Trust®

EXAMPLE A – Protection of Community Spouse’s Assets

Mr. A, a restitution recipient, is aware that by claiming Spousal Refusal, he would be eligible to seek Medicaid benefits for his wife, who is in a nursing home. Mr. A believes that, since his assets exceed Medicaid limits by almost $200,000.00, he will be sued by Medicaid to provide contribution for his wife’s care after she receives Medicaid. Mr. A is not aware that any current assets he holds could be made exempt for Medicaid purposes by qualifying them as co-mingled restitution payments. By qualifying Mr. A’s assets as restitution, they become exempt from Medicaid. 

  • Mr. A can never be required to contribute to his wife’s care because, in the eyes of Medicaid, he has no assets to contribute.
  • Further, by placing those assets in a Victim of Nazi Persecution Restitution Trust®, they are protected in the event Mr. A ever needs nursing-home care himself and are protected from Medicaid Estate recovery.

EXAMPLE B – Assuring Auxiliary Care & Testamentary Intent

Ms. B, a restitution recipient, suffered a stroke and, after a brief hospital stay, was discharged to a nursing rehabilitation center from where she is, unfortunately, unable to return home. Because Ms. B has assets in excess of $185,000.00, she is advised that she would need to pay privately for her nursing home care, in this case, $14,000.00 a month. With the addition of private duty nurses, Ms. B would likely exhaust her substantial assets within 10 months. Upon our review of Ms. B’s history, we determined that she is immediately eligible for Medicaid despite her assets. We filed an application for Medicaid and transferred her assets into a Victim of Nazi Persecution Restitution Trust®. We instructed her attorney-in-fact not to make any further payments to the nursing home pending the decision on Ms. B’s Medicaid application, which was subsequently granted. 

  • Ms. B’s assets were preserved and, via the Trust, remained a source of funds available to provide her with private duty nurses. The Trust also ensured that Ms. B would be able to pass a legacy to her family, friends, and favorite charities. 

EXAMPLE C – Need for Anticipatory Planning

Mrs. C, a recipient of Wiedergutmachung and a widow’s pension, had assets in excess of $400,000.00 prior to entering a nursing home. Before contacting us, Mrs. C had received professional advice about initiating a standard Medicaid plan, which called for her to transfer a large portion of her assets to her only son and pay the nursing home during the “wait out” ineligibility period resulting from this transfer. Concerned that during the first 13 months of this ineligibility period, Mrs. C had spent over $110,000.00 of her own assets for nursing home care, Mrs. C’s son called us to assess whether his mother’s restitution might provide an alternative to exhausting her remaining funds. Our calculation of Mrs. C’s restitution payments revealed that, over time, she had received restitution in excess of $430,000.00 and was thus presently and immediately eligible for Medicaid benefits. Unfortunately, because Mrs. C had waited to consider restitution planning, none of the assets that she had already paid would be returned. 

  • While Victims of Nazi Persecution Restitution Trusts® shield a person’s assets from the reaches of Medicaid, Medicaid reimbursement provisions only apply to money privately paid to a nursing home within three months of filing a Medicaid application. Thus, as illustrated above, the clients who discover their entitlement too late will needlessly and irrevocably be forced to spend their own funds. 

EXAMPLE D – A Reparation Account Is Not Enough

Client D has received $30,000.00 in reparation payments and is advised to establish the “Client D Reparation Account” at her bank. Client D eventually applies for and receives Medicaid and dies two years later. Since the Reparation Account was established in the name of Client D, a formal probate proceeding is required to appoint an executor to distribute the funds to Client D’s beneficiaries. (Probate is not required for funds in a Victim of Nazi Persecution Restitution Trust®). Additionally, prior to distribution, the executor will receive notification from the Department of Human Resources stating that no distributions can be made by the executor until such time as Medicaid has had an opportunity to review the matter and determine whether a Medicaid recapture demand is appropriate. (Medicaid picks up estate names from the Surrogate’s Court and still has the right to review whether recapture is appropriate against the estate of any Medicaid recipient). Therefore, the administration of the estate will be delayed while Client D’s executor either hires an attorney or makes his own attempt to prove to Medicaid that these funds are exempt and, therefore, there should be no recapture. 

  • Victims of Nazi Persecution Restitution Trusts® avoid the delays of probate of this asset and preempts debate by Medicaid as to whether this asset should be recaptured. Client D’s Reparation Account does not properly protect these funds, does not provide for the use of these funds if Client D is incapacitated, and could potentially prevent the intended beneficiaries from receiving these funds. 

EXAMPLE E – Failings of a Jointly Held Reparation Account

Client E knows about Client D’s plan. He also read some articles about Medicaid planning and consulted both a social worker and an elder law attorney regarding the protection of his reparation money, his failing health, and his compelling need to secure long-term health care assistance. Client E is advised that a Reparation Account in his name is insufficient and that what he should do is establish a “Client E Reparation Account” held jointly at his bank with one of his nephews.

Client E feels comfortable with this account. He is happy that his nephew has access to the money in the account and believes that, upon his death, the account will be transferred to his nephew by operation of law. He believes that this will avoid the expense and inconvenience of probate and therefore, Medicaid will not review this account. However, Client E’s plan still creates potential problems. As is the case with all jointly held assets, situations can arise that will totally defeat this alleged solution. For example:

  • Client E’s nephew withdraws the money from the account, as he is legally entitled to do, and leaves Client E with no assets whatsoever. 
  • If Client E’s nephew unexpectedly predeceases Client E, then Client E will be in the same position as Client D was in Example D above. 
  • Client E’s nephew survived Client E, and upon his uncle’s death, he closed the account, kept the money, and ignored his uncle’s wishes that this money be divided evenly among his three cousins. As a joint owner of the money, he was legally able to ignore his uncle’s wishes. 
  • Client E’s nephew (in this instance, well-intentioned and meaning to distribute the funds according to his uncle’s wishes), unfortunately, had a problem with the IRS and has to pay off his tax lien. As a joint owner, Client E’s reparation account may be lost to the IRS. 
  • The possibilities for disasters regarding jointly held reparation accounts are endless and are easily avoided with the establishment of a Victim of Nazi Persecution Restitution Trust®. 

EXAMPLE F – The Proper Plan

Client F and his spouse are both victims of Nazi Persecution. They have received conflicting advice about restitution asset protection from the various attorneys and social service organizations they have consulted. Unfortunately, Client F and his wife are frail, making it essential to address the issue of their long-term health care. Client F has received $150,000.00 in restitution, and his wife has received $225,000.00. Additionally, the couple received $250,000.00 in 1983 as a result of a property settlement, and, recently, they also received special payments for slave labor. In total, Mr. and Mrs. F have received approximately $625,000.00 in restitution payments. Their current net worth is, coincidentally, also $625,000.00, which is maintained in various banks and brokerage accounts. Although Mr. and Mrs. F are close to their children, they want to maintain control of their own assets; they want to prevent, or at least limit, the access the children have to the funds; and, further, they want to ensure that the influence of their sons and daughters-in-law would have no impact on their testamentary wishes. 

  • Client F and his wife can accomplish their goals by properly establishing Victims of Nazi Persecution Restitution Trusts®, along with properly drafted powers of attorney and health care proxy documents. They can identify, protect, and maintain absolute control of $625,000.00 of their assets (the current total amount of restitution payments), receive Medicaid assistance, and, under New York guidelines, preserve this unique Medicaid exemption for the next generation. 

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Estate administration is the process of winding down the business and personal affairs of an individual after they have passed away. Lissner & Lissner LLP provides experienced, and trusted estate administrative services as well as personal legal care to meet the needs of family members during challenging times.

Regardless of the size and complexity of an estate plan, experience and knowledge are needed to administer an estate, manage associated trusts, and ensure the wishes of the deceased are carried out. Our law firm professionally supports your family throughout the probate process.