Articles Posted in Estate Planning

Estate planning should be tailored to fit your unique situation. Each person has their own list of objectives that they must achieve. The issues that unmarried people must address are different from those that need to be tackled by married couples. This article reviews some of the common issues that arise when unmarried couples engage in estate planning. 

Taking Domestic Partners Into Consideration

Married couples are bestowed under the law with certain rights and obligations that unmarried individuals simply do not have. State laws for married individuals involving property division do not extend to people who are in relationships but not married. Laws are not the same for unmarried individuals in case of a break-up or death. With adequate estate planning, unmarried people can create estate planning documents to make sure that their wishes are carried out when it comes to things like estate planning. 

Many people fall into the trap of thinking that wills are only for the wealthiest individuals. Other people falsely believe that because they are young, there is little to no reason to write a will. In reality, life is overwhelming and unpredictable. As easy as it is to assume that estate plans are for other people, it’s also important to understand that death will occur regardless of whether or not one would like to avoid it. If you fail to create an estate plan, there will be no designated individuals to receive your assets after you pass away. In these situations, New York law will dictate how your assets are divided as well as where your assets are transferred.

To make matters even more complex, only one in every three people in the United States is reported to have a will. This equates to only half of the people over the age of 55 having an estate plan. Any person, however, can benefit from having a will even if this makes things easier for survivors who have recently lost a loved one. It’s also important to remember that wills need not be complicated and that a person can write one without having to spend a substantial amount of money. This article reviews some important details to consider if you’re considering creating a will. 

Consider Your Goals

Family wealth has led to disputes over the years. Today, Hollywood also continues to make films like Knives Out that address what happens when families cannot agree on how an estate should be divided. Given that the Covi-19 pandemic has placed an increased amount of financial pressure on families, a growing number of people are disputing the terms of wills and other estate plans. Additionally, the number of blended families has grown substantially. Data reveals that currently, 16% of children live in “blended families”.  Blended families mean that personal finances are much more nuanced than they once were. 

Selecting who will inherit your assets and how much they will receive can be difficult even among the simplest family arrangements. When step-children or other aspects of blended families are involved, the chances for disputes rise greatly. 

Writing a Will that Decreases the Risk of Estate Planning Disputes

For many years, life insurance played a critical role in estate planning to either pay off or avoid estate taxes. Due to the raising of exemptions to a sizable degree including both on a federal and New York state level, people now utilize life insurance to achieve various goals. This article reviews some of the ways that you can achieve estate planning goals through the use of life insurance.

Income Taxes

Following the recent passage of the Secure Act, some new techniques have been introduced involving income taxes. The Act requires beneficiaries who inherit IRAs to make withdrawals from these accounts over the following decade. The creation of this 10-year duration lowered what was once expected to be the rest of the withdrawer’s life.

As the covid-19 pandemic continues throughout the country, many experts are gaining a better understanding that the pandemic left on older individuals, who are the demographic hit most devastatingly by Covid-19. New studies have provided some helpful insights. For example, data shows that older individuals residing in their own residences have faced an increased risk of passing away from covid-19, more than was previously understood. While nursing home fatalities received significant attention, a much larger number of adults passed away from covid while living outside of nursing homes.  

This new research tackles some important questions including what conditions place seniors at an elevated risk of passing away due to the coronavirus, the number of older individuals who might have died without the pandemic, and the number of “excess” deaths that are connected to the covid-19 pandemic. It’s already understood that older individuals were disproportionately impacted. New details about the vulnerabilities of the elderly, however, are illuminating while the number of covid cases increases again and unvaccinated people are still at an increased risk of covid-19. 

Details about the Study

A variety of myths linger about estate planning. One of the most enduring of these myths is that estate planning is only for the wealthy. In reality, however, estate plans perform countless functions and all adults need them. Estate planning is not simply something that a person needs when they pass away to manage their property. Estate planning does this important task but also performs other valuable functions like planning for your potential incapacity. As people age, the chances that they will need help from someone else later on in life rise substantially. Furthermore, mishaps and tragic illnesses can also occur despite a person’s age. This article reviews some critical reasons why most people, regardless of age, need some type of estate plan.

Healthcare Decisions

All adults can benefit from creating a healthcare directive that addresses who will make healthcare decisions for the individual if they are incapacitated or otherwise not able to do so. A healthcare directive establishes a person’s choices regarding, and other issues like pain medication, organ donation, and other issues that must be decided if a person is incapacitated and cannot care for himself or herself. The person who is appointed as a healthcare agent will also be tasked with making difficult end-of-life decisions involving cremation and burial.

In May 2021, the Biden Administration announced its “Green Books” which includes a summary of the administration’s tax proposal. Even though this is just a proposal and not actual legislation, it’s critical to understand that the administration is focused on taxing high net worth individuals at a higher rate than the previous administration. 

    Most notably, this proposal does not include an increase in the estate tax or federal gift rates. Several other important proposals, however, would greatly alter the fundamental aspects of estate planning strategies by substantially reworking capital gain taxation regulations. It remains uncertain, however, whether the proposals in this “green book” will end up being passed into legislation. The proposed date at which these measures will become effective is January 1, 2022, though. To better prepare you for what lies ahead, this article reviews some important details to understand about the proposed changes.

Treat Gifts of Appreciated Property as Realization Events

If you’re planning on making the most of estate planning, you should focus on what your goals are as well as how you can best achieve them. Life insurance plays a critical role in the estate plans of many people. To make the most of life insurance, however, it’s a good idea to first articulate your goals then consider how life insurance could help you achieve these goals. This article can review some of the most helpful ways that you might decide to use life insurance as part of your estate plan. 

Replacing Income

    Many people obtain life insurance as a way to replace income and make sure that loved ones still have funds as well as the ability to remain at home. If you’re in your peak earning years, which run from 35 to 55, income replacement is particularly critical to consider. While the risk of death might be low for a person at this age, death has the greatest potential to impact the lives of those around you. There will be a substantial amount of your challenges for your loved one to face if something happens to you. 

Whether it’s the internet or on television, estate planning strategies and offers are common to encounter. Whatever strategy you end up selecting, your intentions should be captured in your estate planning documents. It’s also a good idea that no one takes advantage of you and you do everything possible to avoid participating in a fraudulent estate planning scheme. To better prepare you for the various estate planning scams out there, this article reviews just a few of the most common types of estate planning fraud about which you should be aware. 

# 1 – Imposter Scams

The most expensive type of scam, imposter scams, involves fraudulent individuals who pretend to be someone you trust. This individual then tricks you into transferring over assets or personal information. These scammers are known to threaten arrest or adverse legal action if their orders are not followed. If you receive a call from anyone claiming to be part of a government organization, you should promptly dismiss it as a scam and hang up.  These organizations are not known to make threats over the phone. 

Estate planning is a fundamental aspect of any thought-out financial plan, but when it’s your loved ones who need to create a plan, it can be challenging to discuss this issue. One reason it’s difficult to discuss estate planning with a loved one is that this often involves confronting sensitive issues including that not all of us will live forever. While it’s most common for adult children to help elderly parents with estate planning, this is not always the case. In reality, people of any age who care about one another can help each other with estate planning. If you’re debating navigating the estate planning process with a loved one, there are some helpful pieces of advice that you should remember to follow.

Approach Helping Your Loved One in the Right Way

If a loved one refuses to get his or her estate plan in order, one proven strategy that can help is obtaining the assistance of any financial professionals who your loved one trusts. These professionals can often recommend estate planning attorneys who will be a good match for the needs of your loved one. If your loved one does not have this type of estate planning help in place, you should prepare to attend the first meeting with your loved one’s estate planning attorney to make sure that this proceeds as smoothly as possible. Also, while approaching your loved one about estate planning, you should remember that it’s a good idea to force your loved one into making a decision. Instead, it’s best to take a gentle approach that your loved one considers estate planning.

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