Q: Who should call Bill Smith?
A: Many of Bill’s clients are seniors and their children or other loved ones who want to see that their family’s financial and healthcare matters are handled in the way that best benefits them. They can speak with Bill about estate & elder law planning, estate and trust litigation.

Q: Who should call Rick Pakola?
A: Guardianship, whether for a minor about to receive funds from a settlement or inheritance, or for the appointment of a trusted person to make decisions for an incapacitated loved one, is an important subject. Rick is the go-to person to patiently explain with clarity what can at first appear to be a daunting procedure, and to assist in this process.

Q: Should only seniors be doing estate planning?
A: There are many instances where younger persons may want to, and should plan for the best future care of young children, business succession, a special needs family member or long-term care planning.

Q: What is unique about Bill among what appear to be many trust and estate attorneys?
A. Bill is the first to affirm that there are many competent trust and estate attorneys in Rockland County today. That being said, Bill’s credentials merit serious consideration:

  • 30+ years practicing law in Rockland County, with knowledge and deep respect for its legal and related resources.
  • He is a teacher, and will take the time to explain the relevant aspects of the law and how they affect you, your family and those you want to protect.
  • A holistic view—Bill has served as prosecutor, defense attorney, and family legal counsel. Seeing the law from these different perspectives gives him a well-rounded understanding of the law.

Q: What special qualities does Rick bring to the practice?
A: Rick’s early initiation to taking on legal matters of great responsibility in the military legal system, through his years litigating criminal and civil matters, allow him to bring his disciplined abilities to bear on complicated guardianship proceedings and trust and estate administration and litigation.

Q: How complicated is the court process for an estate?
A: Depending on how the deceased owned his or her assets and the nature of the assets may determine whether an Executor or Administrator need be appointed. Also, the existence of a trust may affect whether court proceedings are required.

Q: What is estate or trust litigation?
A: Not all matters concerning a decedent’s assets in an estate or trust result in litigation. In fact, most estates or trusts are administered without contest or protracted court involvement. However, in those cases where a family member or other person’s interest is in dispute, Bill has prosecuted and defended fiduciaries, beneficiaries or other persons in will contests and other litigation involving New York estates and trusts.

Q: What's the first step?
A: Call Bill's office to arrange an initial consultation with him or Rick. Once you and Bill or Rick meet face to face, you'll have a greater understanding of the applicable law and issues for your particular situation.