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About Us

Beress & Zalkind PLLC is a boutique law firm in New York City devoted exclusively to the practice of Trusts and Estates, Corporate/Business, Real Estate and Tax law. Our attorneys have worked at top law firms and bring with them the stellar knowledge and experience to offer practical, cost effective and creative solutions in even the toughest of legal situations.
The main aspiration of the Law Firm of Beress & Zalkind PLLC is help our clients to succeed. We work tirelessly and diligently on behalf of our clients.

We value relationships with our clients above all and work closely with and for our clients as their trusted counsel and advisors. With this personal attention and high level of service, we are able to understand our clients’ needs and help them achieve their goals in their business and personal endeavors.

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Trust and Recognition

viktoria beress AVVO award - estate planning

Path to excellence

Viktoria Beress’ expertise enables her to devise sophisticated estate and tax plans, whether it involves international issues, creditor protection issues, Medicaid planning, or inheritance planning. Ms. Beress has decades of experience in the Trusts & Estate field, working for one of the oldest and most prestigious T&E law firms in New York City, and has an LL.M. in Taxation degree from NYU, the top tax program in the United States. Being a CPA provides her with a unique set of skills and vision in the fields of Law and Taxation. Ms. Beress is admitted to practice law in New York and New Jersey. Ms. Beress is on the Board of Temple Emanuel of Staten Island, and a member of the New York State Bar Association, Trusts & Estates Law, and Elder Law Sections. Ms. Beress has been published in Advokat, ESQ. magazine on various Trusts, Estates, and Tax issues.

Ella Zalkind graduated from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, magna cum laude, was a member of the Law Review, and received a B.S. from Cornell University. Ms. Zalkind has over 17 years of legal experience and has structured and worked on a multitude of business and real estate transactions, joint ventures, and strategic partnerships as well as purchases and sales of businesses. Ms. Zalkind has worked at prominent New York City law firms where she gained extensive experience and exposure to sophisticated corporate and real estate transactions. Ms. Zalkind’s background enables her to apply practical knowledge and experience to complicated legal issues for all types of clients.

Our Dedication and Professionalism Has Led Us This Far

Questions & Answers

What is the New York estate tax and who must pay it?

New York, like several other states, has a state estate tax. This means that when someone dies a resident of New York, or with property physically located in New York, his or her estate may be subject to tax not only by the federal government, but also by New York. The estate of a New York resident must file a New York State estate tax return if the amount of the resident’s federal gross estate (value of all real and personal property), plus the amount of any includible gifts, exceeds the basic exclusion amount applicable at the date of death.

Who qualifies for Medicaid after 65?

Medicaid is a government program administered jointly by Federal, state, and local authorities that provides medical and other benefits for qualifying individuals. Those suffering from a disability, injury, or illness that is permanent or chronic may be awarded substantial, lifelong help. Eligibility for Medicaid in New York is determined based upon income, age, health and assets. Income is the amount you receive each month (or less regularly) from Social Security, pensions, work, gifts and distributions from IRAs or annuities.
As of 2018 the income limits are $842/month if you are living alone and $1,233/month for couples. Proper asset and estate planning, as well as knowledge of the various applicable spend down rules, can greatly increase your chances of becoming eligible for Medicaid. Our Russian speaking estate attorneys can discuss various legal tools such as Medicaid Trusts and Pooled Income Trusts, and can protect your current and future assets and also enable you to meet the stringent financial requirements for Medicaid.

What does a corporate lawyer do?

Corporate lawyers ensure the legality of commercial transactions. A corporate lawyer’s primary responsibility is to ensure that their clients’ business transactions are in compliance with the law. A corporate lawyer provides valuable advice, helps structure your business and assists with such legal matters as formation, operation and governance of a business. It is important that your attorney has a strong familiarity with the laws of the jurisdiction in which your business operates. This is because corporate attorneys must have a thorough understanding of the laws, regulations, current trends and regulatory developments in order to facilitate business transactions and help clients work within legal boundaries. A corporate attorney can also ensure that her client does not get defrauded or become involved in transactions with parties that engage in deceptive, illegal or unfair practices.

What is Beneficiary Designation?

Beneficiary designations dictate how some commonly owned assets transfer on the owner’s death. These are assets that generally pass outside the regular probate process in accordance with the terms of the contract between the owner and the institution that holds and manages the asset. Such accounts often include, but are not limited to, life insurance policies and retirement plans (example: 401k and IRA).

What is a UTMA account?

The Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) allows a minor to receive gifts, such as money, patents, royalties, real estate and fine art, without the aid of a guardian or trustee. Under the UTMA, the gift giver or an appointed custodian manages the minor’s account until the latter is of age. The UTMA also shields the minor from tax consequences on the gifts, up to a specified value. The Act allows the donor to name a custodian who has the fiduciary duty to manage and invest the property on behalf of the minor until the minor becomes of legal age. The property belongs to the minor from the time the property is gifted. It is import to note that once you have transferred assets into an UTMA account, you are NOT permitted to take them back. Once the assets are transferred to the minor, they belong to that minor. Therefore, you want to make sure that you don’t transfer funds that you might need to recover at a later time. Further, once the child reaches the age of majority, the custodians of the account must turn over the assets to the child and have no control over how the child will use that money. Consider if you want all the money in the account in your child’s hands at that age? This can be a problem if the child is not mature, thoughtful or careful enough to handle the money and dissipates it.

What is “Per Stirpes” distribution?

Latin for “by the root,” it is a method used for directing the distribution of a person’s estate. In a “Per Stirpes” distribution the property is proportionately divided between beneficiaries according to their deceased ancestor’s share.
For example, if a bequest (gift) is made “to my issue per stirpes,” and there are 4 children, each one would receive 25% of the testator’s estate after the death of the testator. If one of the children predeceases (dies before) the testator, leaving two surviving children, those two surviving issue would divide the 25% share that their deceased parent would have received.


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