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Based on data compiled by the United States Department of Agriculture’s 2017 Census, there were approximately 33,438 farms in New York in 2017. This includes 6,886,171 acres that are currently in production. As anyone who lives on a farm can tell you, life on a farm is unique in various ways. 

This is particularly true for families who are engaged in estate planning. One of the biggest challenges that many farm families with estate planning is deciding exactly how to pass on the family farm. Farm families must assess how the farm will likely perform decades from now. When multiple children are involved, dividing the farm among family members can also be challenging.

Creating an estate plan that will properly handle farm succession is critical. Not doing this means that a family might leave its children financially vulnerable. Not to mention, a farm is the most valuable asset that many farm families own. According to data compiled by the United States Department of Agriculture, the average value for a larger family farm was approximately $4.5 million in 2014.

Recently, after a mother in Oregon lost her four-year-old son in an accident, the woman to take the boy’s body back to the family’s ranch home. While the mother wanted a little more time with her child, she was instructed by a medical examiner that this request was not capable of being fulfilled. After navigating the various regulatory hurdles, the family ultimately took the boy home and placed him to rest on the property. During this time, the boy’s mother learned that Oregon law, there are no requirements that a person purchase the services of either a funeral director or funeral home. 

Despite the lack of regulations, people rarely decide to hold a home funeral. Not only does this story emphasize one of the reasons why family members should know the rights of loved ones, but this story is also a reminder that medical professionals are also sometimes not familiar with the rights of surviving loved ones. The family’s journey in helping hold a home funeral also inspired the family’s creation of a website, Oregon Funeral Resources & Education

The Role of Home Funerals in New York

Not seeing medical providers when necessary. Being financially exploited by others. Not being able to take care of financial situations due to incapacity. These are just some of the common problems that people encounter without a proper guardian. In these situations, it often becomes necessary to petition the court so a more appropriate guardian can be appointed to control the incapacitated person’s affairs.

The Dangers of Guardianship Law

Guardianship is a powerful area of law and if not properly considered can lead to some substantial challenges. Failure to adequately plan for guardianship can lead to a person losing their rights including the ability to choose where they live and how their finances are handled. Some estate planning experts argue that guardians have too much power, which has led to cases of some guardians taking advantage of vulnerable adults by either denying them medical care or taking advantage of the adult. 

The Internal Revenue Service recently announced that beginning in 2020, the first $11.58 million of a taxable estate is not subject to federal estate taxes. As a result of these changes, a majority of estates will not be subject to federal taxes. Even though estate planning is not as big an issue for many estate planners as it once was, family conflict is becoming more common for families during the estate planning and administration process. 

While conflicts tend to occur more often among blended families who often must deal with multiple marriages and children from current or former marriages, conflicts are also a common occurrence among the closet knit of families. As a result, this article reviews some important steps that close-knit traditional families should remember to follow during the estate plan process to avoid conflicts.

# 1 – Communicate Your Wishes

Recent changes are coming for wills. Many states have begun to pass legislation that will result in the introduction of electronic wills, which combine the formality of traditional wills in a digital format. Written using an electronic device, these devices are then electronically signed and validated by the creator. 

It is important to understand that electronic wills do not abandon the formalities of traditional wills including signatures and witnesses, but instead attempt to update these elements to the digital era.

The Roots of Electronic Wills

If your children are younger than the age of age, it is worth considering how you would like to pass on your assets. Because trusts are growing in popularity, this article reviews some of the important issues that you must consider if you are considering creating a trust for your children.

# 1 – There Are Associated Costs

There are several hidden fees associated with trusts. If you do select this option, you will need to appoint a guardian who will oversee assets for the child in case something happens to you before the child reaches the age of 18. A trust guardian must be bonded and must routinely file paperwork with a court of law, which will likely require the assistance of an estate planning lawyer. 

If you are navigating a divorce or recently lost a loved one, you might find yourself going through several complex estate planning documents. You might discover that you now have interests in one or several trusts. While you might have established a trust with a spouse to take care of children after your death or a loved one might have created a trust for you to receive benefits, it is important to understand how to read and comprehend the terms of a trust. 

While many people are familiar with wills, many people are not exactly what trusts do or how to best interpret them. While the best approach begins with reading over the terms of the trust, there are also some other important strategies to follow as you prepare to retain the assistance of a skilled estate planning lawyer.

# 1 – Become Acquainted with Common Trust Terms

Many people think that estate planning is a once and done process. In actuality, it is critical to constantly revise the terms of your estate plan. Not only can changes in your own life impact the terms of your trust,  but estate planning law also changes frequently. 

Each year, numerous cases influence nuances in estate planning law. This article takes a brief look at three recent cases and interprets what these cases mean for the future of your estate plan.

# 1 – Blech v. Blech

Deciding to get divorced presents several considerations. While things like what will happen to your children as well as where you will live are likely at the front of your mind, estate planning is likely something that you have not yet begun to consider. 

It is a good idea to both review and update your estate plan around any changes in your situation. This includes changes in finances and divorce, but also major life events like divorce. To make sure that you revise your estate plan, this article reviews just a few of the most reasons why doing so is important. 

# 1 – Divorce Takes Time

If you’ve had a 401(k) for some time, you’re aware that each year many factors influence the value of contributions. 2020 is shaping up to be a great year to make contributions to a 401(k) plan. The Internal Revenue Service recently announced its 2020 limits for plan contributions.

Not only must employers make sure to make administrative changes to these retirements plan, but account holders should also similarly be prepared to do what it takes to make the most of their contributions.

What the Announcement Involves

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