Articles Tagged with new york elder law estate planning

When choosing the people you trust the most to serve as a part of your estate plan in any capacity, whether they be a family member, close friend or trusted individual in the community, it is important to understand the role that you are asking them to play. Serving as the executor of your estate, the trustee of your trust, as your healthcare representative or power of attorney is not a blessing. Making sure that the people you ask to fulfill these roles ahead of time understand that is crucial to ensuring that your estate plan is carried out effectively and to your wishes.

Managing Expectations

Many people feel that being chosen for one of these roles is a great honor. After all, being asked to serve as someone’s power of attorney or trustee means that there is a presence of trust in the relationship. After all, out of all the people who could have been chosen, out of all the people who could have been asked, you asked that specific person to handle your affairs.

Nearly 55% of American adults die without a will or estate planning documents. This lack of planning can cause years of stress and heartache for your surviving family members and heirs. If you die without an estate plan in place, your family may be subject to:

  • Attorney expenses and court costs,
  • Wasted time and frustration, and

What’s In a Name Depends on Who You Are. It Could Be Hundreds of Millions According to the IRS

            There has been an ongoing battle in recent years between decedents’ estates and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). While it is only to be expected that the IRS attempt to collect as much as it can, their recent focus has turned to a rather contentious area in their quest for collections: intangibles. This category that includes property interests like computer software, patents, copyrights, publicity rights and literary, musical and artistic compositions can be difficult to put a price.

Most recently, the estate of former singer Whitney Houston has been fighting off an inexplicable valuation of Ms. Houston’s publicity rights, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Ms. Houston’s estate is just one of many in recent years, most notably, Michael Jackson, who are embroiled in heated tax claims over the valuation of certain assets, most contentiously the valuation of the celebrity’s public image. How exactly does the IRS come to the conclusion of the worth of the decedent’s image, and why are valuations of this intangible so hard to get right?


It is not unheard of for adoptive children to seek out their biological parents and reestablish contact once they are old enough and understand the world much better. The drive to understand who your biological ancestors are, to know where they came from and their story is practically innate or inborn. This is a healthy endeavor as it helps to fill out and expand the adult child’s world view of who they are and may help to explain certain personality quarks. There are also legitimate medical reasons for the decision to reach out to the biological parents, so as to understand medical risks, family medical histories or perhaps even obtain a pool of possible bone marrow or organ donors in the unlikely event that something like that is needed. Those issues speak to the social and emotional issues that revolve around adoption. Legally, however, an adopted child is a veritable stranger to the biological parent in non-stepparent adoptions. Inheritance rights are created in the adoptive child vis-a-vis the adoptive parents. Inheritance rights via the biological parents are severed. The only way that a biological parent can pass property or money on to the child adopted out from them is to specifically include them in their will. A class gift to “all of my children” from a biological parent excludes from its scope children adopted out from them and includes any children that that person adopted.


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