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Elder Law Estate Planning is an area of law that helps us maintain control of our lives and assets in four basic areas.

First, Elder Law is planning for disability which includes naming people who will make decisions for us if we become incapacitated. You choose the people who will act on your behalf and thereby avoid the government taking over your life in a “guardianship proceeding.” Wills do not provide for disability because they are plans for death. Living trusts, on the other hand, name trustees who manage trust affairs during incapacity. Other necessary disability planning documents include a Power of Attorney that names people who make financial and legal decisions, a Health Care Proxy that names people who will make medical decisions and a Living Will that expresses end of life decisions such as resuscitation.

Second, another protection of Elder Law is asset protection planning from the costs of long-term care. Plan A to protect assets from long-term care and nursing home costs is to buy long-term care insurance. If you do not have long-term care insurance, Plan B is the Medicaid Asset Protection Trust (MAPT) that protects trust assets from nursing home costs paid for by Medicaid after the assets are in the trust for five years. The MAPT protects assets from home care costs paid for by Medicaid after the assets are in the trust for two and a half years.

In December 2019, the United States Treasury recently released guidelines in Subchapter Z of the Internal Revenue Code. the regulations play the vital role of clarifying earlier 2018 and 2019 regulations about financial opportunity zones. This article briefly reviews some of the most important lessons to be learned from this announcement. 

The Role of Opportunity Zone Investment

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 created many estate planning changes including the introduction of opportunity zone provisions. These provisions allow people to defer capital gains tax by reinvesting the amount in a qualified opportunity fund (QOF). A QOF is a low-income tract  A WOF is an entity created to invest in opportunity zone property and must hold at least 90% of its assets in qualified opportunity zone property (QOZ). QOZ property must satisfy four elements:

At first glance, inheriting real estate might seem like an entirely good thing. In reality, when taxation and other estate planning issues are considered, this inheritance also presents several burdens. 

While New York does not have an inheritance tax, other states do and it is critical to consider this as well as other issues when deciding what to do with the other property. In short, your options include moving, selling, or renting a property. What works best for you, however, depends on your situation. As a result, this article reviews some factors you should consider when deciding how to respond. 

Factor # 1 – Mortgage

Children and Estate Plans: Equality Is Not Required

If you do not have an estate, at least one person you know has probably recommended that you create one as soon as possible. Among the various questions that the creation of an estate plan presents is how exactly to divide assets. While you likely want to help your loved ones have an easier time in case something happens to you, it can be challenging to determine how to achieve these goals.

 While you might have considered passing assets to the children that need it most, you might have quickly dismissed this thought because passing on your assets in an unequal amount might seem unfair. In reality, passing on your assets to your children in equal amounts is not necessary. This article reviews some of the most common situations where unequal distributions might be the best choice to make.

One of the most difficult parts about successful estate planning is that countless myths persist about how to plan for your future. One of these misconceptions is that young people do not need estate plans. Another common misconception is that once you create an estate plan, there is no need to revise. In reality, the best approach is to create an estate plan early on in life and then to revise or add to that estate plan as time passes. This is because, like or not, emergencies do happen and everyone can benefit from the existence of an estate plan. As a result, this article reviews what a good estate plan should include for some various ages as well as the risks presented to estate plans during each phase of a person’s life. 

# 1 – College Age

While you still need one, during this phase of life your estate plan can remain relatively simple and include only critical documents like durable powers of attorney and a will. Each year, countless young people end up in tragic accidents that force their parents or loved ones to make caregiving decisions. Having a power of attorney in place helps to avoid uncertainties about how healthcare or financial decisions for you will be made. Regardless of value, if you have any assets, you should also address how these belongings will be transferred in a will. 

The estate tax in the United States is a tax placed on a person’s assets that transferred to beneficiaries after that person’s death. While only a certain category of assets is impacted by these taxes, they can have a profound impact on the administration of your estate plan.  As a result, if you plan on engaging in estate planning any time soon, this article reviews some critical factors that you should consider the role of estate and gift taxes in the United States as of 2020. 

# 1 – The Lifetime Exemption Amount

Estate taxes in this country impact only the highest-earning households in this country. This is because federal tax laws acknowledge a lifetime exemption, which allows you to exempt certain assets from what constitutes a taxable estate. While the amount of this exemption change yearly, in 2020 the lifetime exemption is $11.58 million for each person. This means that the exemption for married couples is $23.16 million. Any amount that goes over these thresholds is subject to an inheritance tax. 

Under the Uniform Parentage Act as well as New York law, children born through the aid of advanced reproductive technology are treated the same as biological children.

Children who are born through the use of frozen biological material, however, create many estate planning questions, which include how to write estate planning documents and how to structure trusts. 

Know What Federal and New York Law States

While we create estate plans to make sure that our wishes are carried out after our death or incapacity, we ultimately establish these plans for our loved ones.  There are various reasons, however, why many people hesitate to create any type of estate plan at all. For one, it can be frightening to confront the fact that like everyone else, you too will one day pass away. Uneasiness about this prospect can cause you to end up delaying the creation of an estate plan for years and sometimes even permanently. 

One of the best ways to motivate yourself to take the steps necessary to create plans for your future is to understand why your loved ones want you to do so. As a result, this article reviews some of the most common reasons why family members and other loved ones want us to create estate planning documents.

# 1 – Avoid Complications

It’s a common tactic for families to utilize trusts to both own, control, and transfer ownership of family businesses. Among other reasons, these trusts help to achieve goals related to asset protection, tax savings, and estate planning. 

If your family-run business is also a government contractor, it is critical that you be aware of the Federal Acquisition Regulation. Not complying with this body of law could result in various complications include allegations of making false statements, losing applicable clearance, and having bids and proposals rejected.

The Role of CAGE Codes

It’s easy to assume that celebrities have the best-written estate plans. In reality, however, each year countless celebrities pass away and create estate problems because they do not clearly express their wishes. 

For example, when the “queen of soul music” Aretha Franklin passed away, she left a holographic will behind. While some news sources first reported that Franklin had passed away without any type of estate plan, she was later discovered to have left behind a holographic will. This means that instead of administering Franklin’s estate following state intestacy law, Franklin’s estate was divided under the terms of her handwritten will.

When New York Holographic Wills Are Valid

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