Services

Cooke & Steffan Services

To learn more about our firm's services click on the links below.





Estate

Cooke and Steffan, Attorneys, will provide the family of the decedent with probate and administration services, from petitioning the Court for acceptance of the will, to assisting with distributions to beneficiaries. Services include, notifying Social Security of the death or advising the client in this regard and maintaining an accounting of all decedentâ??s assets, thereby relieving the Executor of the accounting burden. We will handle the real estate closing and this is included in our overall fee for Estate services. We will advise the surviving spouse on estate planning issues and estate tax issues in, including, if necessary, preparing disclaimers to reduce overall estate tax for the estates of both husband and wife.






Health Care Proxy

Our law firm prepares a Health Care Proxy, which is a written designation of an Agent to make health care decisions for the client. The Proxy also provides advanced directives in the event that the Principal were to receive artificial life support, such as CPR, mechanical respiration, and feeding by gastrointestinal tube. This "Living Will" direction will instruct the Agent to withdraw or withhold medical intervention in the final stages of life. The client would maintain his or her dignity to the end of life.






Real Estate Closings

Cooke and Steffan, Attorneys has closed thousands of home sales and purchases over many years. Mr. Steffan is a licensed title insurance agent, bringing twenty three years of title examination experience to the closing table. In addition, Mr. Steffan has assisted clients in mortgage refinances, family transfers, conservation easements, commercial business sales, and other creative forms of real estate conveyancing. He will prepare a life estate deed and explain the Medicaid Planning aspects of this family transfer. The transfers of country property pose special concerns, such as oil and gas leases, rights of way, and other mineral rights interests which affect title to real estate. Mr. Steffan has handled all of these documents and more. Our law firm will close your home sale or purchase transaction, possibly the single biggest investment of your time and money during your life, with efficiency and ease.






Bankruptcy

Cooke and Steffan, Attys. will make your bankruptcy filing a simple and stress relieving experience. Yes, the purpose of bankruptcy is to give you a "fresh start". We will help you clean the slate by wiping out unsecured debt which has been oppressive. Did you know that credit card interest often exceeds the amount previously held illegal under State Usury Laws? State usury laws have been pre empted by Federal Law which allows banks to charge interest rates higher than the State would allow a local car dealer. (16% in NY). We will help you eliminate the old debt with a federal court bankruptcy filing or a debt workout program. Then you can again obtain credit on more reasonable terms.






Creditor Workout

Some people may not be eligible to file bankruptcy due to having filed bankruptcy within the last eight (8) years, or because the expense is prohibitive. We often help people avoid bankruptcy by proposing settlement plans for individual creditors. We begin by paying off the smaller debts in full, while continuing with monthly payments on the larger ones. When the small debt has been fully paid, then the monthly payment once applied to it now can be combined with the other payments on the larger debts. By tackling your credit one debt at a time you can steadily get rid of it. Remember to bring in to our office any complaint or other legal process served upon you by a creditor while we are in the debt pro ration process. Often there are defenses to the complaint, and we can assert them by responding to the complaint and preventing a legal judgment.






Social Security Disability

Our law firm provides services on Social Security Disability hearings, including attending the hearing on behalf of the client applicant, We will prepare your case so that the hearing examiner sees your case in its most favorable light. We receive payment only if you win your claim.






Wills

Mr. Steffan has been preparing wills for his clients for over twenty years. He features a standard "I love you" will, with reciprocal residuary dispositions for the husband and wife. If estate tax planning is needed, then he adds a disclaimer trust, which enables the equalization of the Husband and Wife's estates to fully utilize both of their Unified Credits. Health Care Proxies and Powers of Attorney are part of the Will package offered to clients. In short, all of the client's estate planning needs can be met.






Power of Attorney

Our law firm includes Power of Attorney documentation in your Will package. While the will becomes effective upon your death, the Power of Attorney is immediately effective when you sign it, in most cases. The appointed person is an agent to transact business on your behalf when you are unable to do so yourself.  The power of attorney can act when you are incapacitated, physically or mentally.  The power of attorney may avoid the need for the appointment of a legal guardian.






Business Information

Mr. Steffan has a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Business Management from Canisius College. In addition, he has been the sole proprietor of Cooke and Steffan, Attorneys for over sixteen years. He knows what legal services are needed to start up a business. He advises his clients regarding employment laws, tax laws, and labor laws affecting their businesses on a daily basis. The law firm has formed and organized corporations, limited liability companies, sole proprietors operating under assumed name certification, and individual partnerships.






Foreclosure Defense

Mr. Steffan is representing debtors who have seen their adjustable rate mortgage payments rise due to the sub prime loan fiasco. He will make the Plaintiffâ??s prove their case comports with New York Stateâ??s foreclosure law. You have certain rights before your home may be taken due to a mortgage default.





Divorce

Our matrimonial practice includes representing you in a contested or uncontested "fault" divorce, or preparation of a separation agreement leading to divorce based upon "irreconcilable differences" . Where one spouse is at fault for cruel and inhuman treatment such that it is unsafe or improper for the other spouse to cohabit with him or her then the innocent spouse has grounds for divorce. Other "fault"grounds include abandonment and adultery. If none of the fault grounds exist, but the couples cannot live according to their marital promises, then they may choose to separate pursuant to a separation and property settlement agreement. The attorney prepares and files the agreement. The couples then live apart for at least one year in accord with terms of the agreement to have grounds for a divorce which is tantamount to a divorce based upon "irreconcilable differences".