Articles Tagged with new york estate planning

Many individuals want to make sure that part of their estate is dedicated to their favorite charitable causes, and many make the move to guarantee this during their lifetime. There are several ways to do this. Some individuals may consider structuring an endowment while other may choose deferred gifts or planned giving. Another vehicle to ensure your charitable wishes are carried out can include the creation of a private foundation. However, for some people, the best option for charitable donations during one’s lifetime and after might be to create a donor advised fund.

The Basics of a Donor Advised Fund

When we give to various charities, their tax status allows us to take advantage of a tax deduction. However, in order for our donations to qualify as tax deductible, the organization must typically be registered as what is known as a 501(c)(3) organization. These types of organizations must comply with certain rules established by the IRS, including restricted political and legislative activity while following other important guidelines. The IRS defines a donor advised fund as a fund or account that is maintained and operated by a 501(c)(3) organization known as the sponsoring organization.

Almost every post, we remind people that estate planning is a comprehensive undertaking that has many different options that can be tailored for individual needs. Experienced estate planning attorneys can help clients understand the role that different option can play in the estate planning process. Another vehicle that can provide individuals and their loved ones with financial security is long-term care insurance. With the growing cost of medical care and the average life expectancy of people reaching 65 today at approximately 85 years of age, high healthcare costs can become a severe drain on a family’s financial resources. However, planning for the cost of long-term medical care can help you maintain the bulk of your estate to distribute to your heirs as you see fit.

What Is Long-Term Care Insurance?

Long-term care insurance not only protects your heirs from the expenses associated with caring for elderly family members, but can also help you prepare for the costs of caring for your aging family members. The purpose of long-term care insurance is to help offset the costs of long-term care that can come with age. For instance, caring for an aging family member that has developed cognitive impairments such as Alzheimer’s disease can sometimes require a daytime visiting nurse while you and your family are at work and/or school, or even around-the-clock medical care in a nursing home facility.

Estate planning is a complex process that involves a great deal of attention to detail. However, truly comprehensive estate planning goes beyond creating a Last Will and Testament or even a trust and includes things like understanding how debt will affect your estate once you die. The best way to avoid the negative effects of debt on your estate is, of course, to avoid debt. However, that is often impossible to do today. In fact, according to sources cited by a recent Yahoo! Finance article around 73 percent of Americans have outstanding debt when they die with an average debt of $62,000 per person. As such, it is important to understand your debt as well as how to manage it appropriately to minimize any potential financial burden such debt could cost your loved ones.

Different Types of Debt

There are several different types of debt, and understanding the differences between them as well as how each type will affect you can help you understand how to manage them. The first type of debt is secured debt. Secured debt is debt that has been guaranteed by some type of collateral. This allows lenders to provide better interest rates on secured debt because a default on such debt typically awards the collateral to the lender. The most common examples of secured debt include residences and vehicles.

Estate planning should be a lifelong process. It is never too early to start the estate planning process, even with minimal assets at a younger age. Once you have a comprehensive estate planning framework in place, it is important to update it as life events change your circumstances. Much like your life is always evolving, so should your estate plan. It must be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure it is up-to-date and continues to comply with changes in laws governing it. When you put this much time and effort into such an important component of protecting your loved ones, it is important to ensure there are mechanisms in place to protect it. The following suggestions, adapted from a recent article from CNBC, can help you ensure your estate plan is secure.

Pre-Paid, Pre-Planned Funerals

When a loved one passes away, it can be an extremely difficult experience. One of the most difficult parts of the grieving process is trying to make funeral arrangements while grieving, and funeral expenses can often be very high. By pre-paying for your funeral arrangements, you can spare your family from the unexpected costs related to funeral expenses while also saving yourself money by locking in prices before they grow over time. Pre-planning your funeral arrangements allows you to ensure that your wishes for your funeral are carried out and help your family avoid stressful decisions during the grieving process.

One of the most important components of estate planning is ensuring that you have an in-depth understanding of your assets. Not only is this important at the onset of estate planning, but it is an important factor to consider when looking down the road to the future. With lawmakers painting a sometimes bleak and uncertain future for social security, many individuals are looking at ways to plan for their financial future in case they are unable to rely solely on social security. While this is certainly a wise financial move, discounting social security’s impact on your estate can be a costly mistake.

As it stands now, social security provides a steady stream of monthly income when conditions for its receipt are met. That’s not likely to drastically change anytime soon. Given that the current projected life expectancy for those turning 65 this year is approximately 85, those monthly payments could add up to around $1 million over the terms of period of installments. A recent article from MarketWatch.com reminds us that we should not discount the impact social security can have on our estates, and an experienced estate planning attorney can help you understand what social security benefits can meant to your estate.

Social Security as a Safety Net

Laws governing estate planning are extremely complex and can change frequently. Working with an experienced estate planning attorney can help you anticipate changes to applicable laws as well as adjust your estate plan to continue providing the benefits you want whenever the law does change. One of the most misunderstood elements of estate planning involves the estate tax. Many individuals don’t believe the estate tax will apply to them because their estates are not large enough to exceed the exemption allowed, which in 2017 is $5.49 million for individuals and $10.98 million for married couples. While this is often true, many people often don’t calculate the value of their estate correctly. Even an otherwise average estate can exceed the exemption limit, especially if you factor in one spouse dying first and the second spouse inheriting the bulk of first spouse’s estate. However, there are tools that can protect your assets from the estate tax by keeping it within your allotted exemption amount.

Portability Elections

A portability election is a tool available to spouse’s that survive the other spouse. When one person in a marriage dies, their estate is totaled to determine what – if any – tax consequences are triggered. When a first-to-die spouse’s estate is completely covered by the individual estate tax exemption and the bulk of the assets within that estate pass to the surviving spouse, this can cause the surviving spouse’s estate to surpass the individual estate tax exemption limit so that the combined value of the estates of both the first-to-die spouse and surviving spouse are taxed when the surviving spouse passes away. A portability election allows a surviving spouse to use leftover exemption amounts from the first-to-die spouse so there is a chance that the surviving spouse’s personal exemption can be combined with the leftover exemption from the first-to-die spouse to shield the surviving spouse’s estate from the estate tax, too.

Taxes are never fun, but when it comes to estate planning taxes are a major concern for most people. Understanding the different types of estate taxes is an important part of creating a comprehensive estate plan to distribute your assets after you are deceased. To help you understand more about the estate tax and gift taxes, which are two common types of taxes many people are subject to in estate planning, the following information provides a brief introduction as to what these taxes are and when they may come into play for you.

Estate Tax

The good news about the federal estate tax is that, according to the IRS, most simple estates do not require filing an estate tax return. This is because only estates for decedents dying in 2017 valued at $5,490,000 or more are subject to this tax. Generally, the estates exempt from this tax are adjusted for the annual rate of inflation, so the value of exempt estates can change from year to year. As a general rule, marital gifts – or those where an estate passes to a surviving spouse – are wholly exempt from the federal estate tax, which does not kick in until the estate passes down the line to a person’s heirs. For estates valued at or over the legally prescribed threshold for the federal estate tax that pass to heirs, the maximum effective tax rate is 40 percent. There are many steps involved in computing what qualifies as your taxable estate as well as deductions that may change the value of your estate which can be discussed with an experienced estate planning attorney to help you make choices about your assets that will ease the financial tax burden that could otherwise accompany the distribution of your assets.

The financial market is expansive and can change overnight. NextAvenue.org recently wrote about several important ways retirement is likely to change in 2017 that could impact millions of people and require you to engage in or reevaluate your estate planning. According to the article, several things you should pay attention to include:

Tax Cuts Are Likely

Tax laws are continuously changing, and the new administration has proposed some rather significant changes to the tax code. If these changes become a reality, it may important for people to look at investments like their IRA and convert it to a more tax-friendly asset, like a Roth IRA. This can help investors and those planning retirement accounts to take advantage of more favorable tax consequences that could help them keep more of their money in the long run.

In a recent blog, we discussed pet owner’s options for naming their pets as beneficiaries in their wills. Another option for pet owners to provider for their pet after death is creating a pet trust. Pet trusts offer a wide variety of options to provide for the pet and can be used in conjunction with a will. Pet trusts are created during the grantor, in this case the pet owner’s, life, and can take effect immediately, or upon death of the grantor.

Unlike wills which leave interpreting some provisions up to the discretion of probate court, trusts are legally enforceable agreements that are carried out according to the provisions of the document. All the traditional rules of trust administration will be in effect for a pet trust as they are for any other trust. There will be a trustee named which will carry out the best interests of the maker of the trust and will be able to enforce the terms of the trust in court if necessary.

One feature of a pet trust that is distinct are the caretaking options. When establishing a pet trust, the maker can name who will take care of their pet in the event of incapacitation, who will have immediate custody upon your death, and how the animal is cared for.

Your estate plan is a way for you to make very important decisions regarding the future of your personal property, financial holdings and legacy. A proper estate plan is truly a gift. It provides peace of mind to the owner of the estate and grants family, friends, and other heirs a little piece to remember them by.

A Personal Touch

While the bulk of estate planning is comprised of official legal documents, these formalities may not be enough to convey your thoughts and wishes. Many people wish to include a letter of instruction along with their legal documents. This letter has your wishes in your own words.

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