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When it comes to planning for how your assets will be managed after you pass away, people often make adequate arrangements in their estate plan in regards to their finances as well as physical property. 

In this era, when an increasingly large amount of information that people have is stored online, it’s critical to also create an adequate digital estate plan which makes sure that your loved ones can access your digital assets like social media accounts, subscription services, pictures, and personal files, and digital currency.  

One issue that makes planning for digital assets complex is that service, as well as user agreements, often stipulate that a company will terminate a person’s account following that individual’s death without waiting to hear back from the next-of-kin. Many states including New York have established legislation addressing how to handle a person’s digital assets. These regulations frequently contain challenges preventing complete access to digital files. To avoid encountering complications with your digital assets after you pass away, this article reviews some of the most helpful strategies you should follow to adequately plan for digital assets. 

Many myths exist about the rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizens. For example, if you are not a U.S. citizen but are married to a U.S. citizen and have permanent resident status, you might have heard that if your spouse passes away without an adequate estate plan you will be required to pay more taxes on your property than if you were a citizen of the United States. 

In reality, if you are the owner of property located in the U.S. but are neither a citizen nor permanent resident, you cannot claim exactly the same advantages in taxes as citizens of the United States. Consequently, you might end up immediately facing estate taxes if your spouse passes away. Various notable estate planning issues occur when either non-citizens or permanent residents are married to U.S. citizens. This article reviews some of the most common ones.

Permanent residents (or holders of green) are viewed as almost identical for tax purposes as United States citizens. These individuals must pay the U.S. tax on income earned anywhere in the world as well as U.S. estate and gift tax on assets owned anywhere in the world. 

Our lawyers recently heard of a divorced individual who passed away and left two children below the age of 18 years. When the person passed away, the individual had no will in place. As a result, it was uncertain who the deceased individual wanted to appoint as a personal representative of the estate. 

Remember, a person passes away without appointing a personal representative, New York law dictates who can apply to be appointed as a personal representative. Because the deceased individuals were below the age of 18, they could not apply to the court for appointment as personal representatives. 

The surviving family filed the appropriate paperwork with probate court hoping for the nomination of a conservator for each child. After the court-appointed conservators, the conservators selected a personal representative for the estate. The person chosen by the conservators then filed paperwork requesting the appointment of a personal representative. This person then gathered all of the deceased parent’s assets, paid the deceased person’s creditor claims, and then divided and transferred the remaining assets to each minor child’s conservator. These conservators must hold assets for the children until the children reach eighteen years of age. This case took a long time to resolve and involved substantial costs. Besides court fees, accounts, conservators, and lawyers also had to be paid. 

As we approach the end of 2021, you should remember to consider and approach many aspects of estate planning. There are also several considerations given potential legislative changes. You should make sure to review your end-of-year estate planning concerns now instead of waiting. This article reviews some of the important issues that you should remember while you prepare your estate plan for the future.

Passing on Gifts Before 2022

The rate for federal tax exemptions is currently higher than it has ever been. If a person does not use these high thresholds, they cannot do so in the future. As a result, now is an ideal time to make the most of available valuation discounts. Some of the factors to consider for gifts that are made in 2021 include:

The Treasury Department recently published its Priority Guidance Plan, which addresses areas like estate, trusts, and gifts. These items were described as a top priority by the department. The department also expressed the desire to establish final regulations that would enforce user fees associated with closing letters for estate tax as well as several other changes. For people about to participate in the creation or revision of an estate plan, this article reviews some of the most important changes that you should consider. 

What Parts of the Guidance Plan You Should Know

Some of the most important elements listed in the Priority Guidance Plan include:

If you receive an inheritance but are also married, the person who passed on an inheritance to you likely intended only to benefit from these funds. If you end up getting divorced, you’re probably left wondering how you can guard the inheritance. Most assets gained by a couple during a marriage are viewed as marital assets, but there are exceptions to this. 

Some exceptions to marital property in New York include bequests from the estate of a deceased relative, gifts made to the individual by a non-spouse, and certain types of compensation for personal injuries. Divorce can make how this property is handled complex. 

While assets inherited by only one spouse often are not subject to property division during the divorce process, courts have the authority to split inherited amounts if it is determined that not separating these assets would create hardships for the other spouse for children who are the product of the union. This article reviews some of the helpful steps that you or a loved one can follow to make sure that inheritance is protected.

Family law addresses the rights of family members including spouses during marriages as well as after divorce. When one spouse passes away, however, complex estate planning issues can arise. 

In the recent Third District case of In Estate of Wall, a federal district court held that title presumption had authority over community property presumptions. The court also found that the surviving spouse in the case still won the case due to the role of undue influence. 

Benny Wall had two descendants with his first wife. Benny’s home 

Estate planning conversations often give off the impression that everyone is elderly and has multiple children. In reality, however, this is not true and people who do not fit this description require estate planning assistance at least as much as people who fall into more conventional models. 

For example, unmarried individuals often also need to create an estate plan that relates to the disposition of property health care proxies, or financial power of attorney. Without these estate planning documents, if an unmarried person cannot make medical or financial choices, someone else might not exist who will be readily recognized. 

Financial Power of Attorney

After a divorce, it’s understandable that you’re tired of sifting through legal documents. If you do not take the actions now to revise your estate plan in light of your divorce, you could end up facing undesirable estate planning results. As a result, you should at least consider gathering your old estate planning documents and evaluating what you will need to update. This article reviews a few of the most commonly used types of estate planning documents that you should make sure to update after a divorce.

Create a New Will

Wills are the central document in most estate plans. This is why it’s a good idea to make sure that your will is adequately updated in light of your divorce. You will likely want to create a will that will no longer pass on your assets to your former spouse. You should also make sure to revoke your old will. 

The rise in the number of divorcees in New York as well as the rest of the country has led to a larger amount of blended families. While similar in many ways to traditional families, blended families face some unique estate planning challenges. This article reviews some of the most important issues that blended families should consider when tackling estate planning

# 1 – Divorce Agreements

Your estate plan should reflect any applicable terms of your divorce agreement. This might mean including statements to provide for your former spouse or making sure that your children are sufficiently provided for following your death. 

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