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Articles Tagged with new york estate planning

One of the primary purposes of responsible, comprehensive estate planning is to make sure that you are able to distribute as much of your estate as possible to your chosen heirs. After all, you worked hard for a lifetime to build your estate and most people engage in estate planning to make sure as much of their estate survives as possible. A recent article from The Motley Fool reminds us of the role Roth IRAs can play in making sure that the inheritances you leave to your heirs do not fall victim to unexpected taxes. This is especially true in today’s world where there is a great deal of uncertainty as to the direction of our nation’s tax system.

Roth IRA Basics

A Roth IRA is an individual retirement plan that allows you to put a certain amount of money into it each year. The money you contribute to a Roth IRA will already be taxed. That means that qualified withdrawals from the Roth IRA will be tax free when you start to take them. Roth IRAs might even provide a tax credit for some of your contributions depending on a number of factors regarding your individual circumstances and financial situation. The earlier you make the choice to start a Roth IRA, the better as a Roth IRA must be active for at least five years prior to your death in order to escape federal income taxes.

When the United States Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, it opened up a lot of doors that had been closed to many people in society. However, it also created a significant amount of new legal concerns for same-sex couples. With marriage, a host of new questions and responsibilities have arisen. Not the least of those concerns is responsible, comprehensive estate planning. While comprehensive estate planning is crucial for all individuals regardless of their marital status or sexual orientation, it is an extremely important consideration for same-sex couples that may not have had an estate plan in place.

Potential Issues

An article from the Cleveland Jewish News points out that same-sex couples – especially unmarried same-sex couples – could still face a host of legal hurdles when it comes to the death of one person in the relationship. These concerns could include issues involving health care and power of attorney, which make it extremely important for unmarried couples to make sure documents addressing these concerns are in place should they be needed. Without these documents, there may be laws in place prohibiting an unmarried same-sex partner from making important financial and health-related decisions if an individual becomes incapacitated or otherwise unable to make such decisions on their own.

Estate planning often involves discussions about investments and other forms of financial planning. Inevitably, life insurance will likely enter the discussion as well. However, when considering life insurance as an estate planning strategy, it is important to understand the limitations that come with life insurance. These limitations often depend on the type of policy you are considering, but reviewing your life insurance options with your estate planning attorney can help you make an informed decision about what – if any – life insurance is right for you.

Choosing the Right Policy

There are several different types of life insurance policies available, most falling into the category of either whole-life or term life insurance. Deciding which type of policy will best meet your needs and goals is an important first step into understanding exactly where life insurance fits into your estate plan.

Recently, we have written on the intricacies of estate planning when an individual owns foreign property. If you own international property or have other estate assets that span two or more countries, one of the most effective ways to ensure that your estate is properly administered according to your wishes is to make sure that you have an internationally recognized Last Will and Testament.

Understanding International Wills

For the most part, Wills are essentially the same the world over. In jurisdictions that allow recognition of a Will, such documents typically need to meet the same requirements:

Dynasty trusts often conjure up images of very wealthy families that have a great deal of money to pass onto their heirs. However, dynasty trusts can actually be an effective tool for families with more average assets to distribute. Investopedia defines dynasty trusts as long-term trusts established to transfer wealth from generation to generation while avoiding the incurrence of transfer taxes such as the estate tax and the gift tax. Before deciding if a dynasty trust is right for your needs, it is important to understand how they work and whether or not their benefits will meet your individual needs.

The Basics

Basically, dynasty trusts are established so that they can survive for 21 years after the death of the last person for whom the trust was established. Theoretically, this means such trusts could be in existence for more than 100 years. Typically, the original beneficiaries are the children of the person that has established the trust. When those children die, the trust typically begins to benefit the grandchildren and possibly great-grandchildren of the individual that established the trust. This is why they are referred to as dynasty trusts because they can continue to benefit several generations of heirs. Dynasty trusts are irrevocable, which means that the person that establishes such a trust will have no control over the trust or its terms once it is funded. Instead, it will be controlled by a trustee appointed by the person that has established the trust.

Estate planning can be a complicated process, especially for individuals that have diversified assets. The process can be even more complex for individuals engaging in estate planning when those individuals have foreign assets to consider. If you have or are considering acquiring foreign assets, including foreign real estate property, it is important that you understand how doing so may affect your estate planning tools. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you further understand the unique nature of foreign assets as well as the mechanisms that you can put in place to protect them.

Validity of Wills

It is possible for a valid United States Last Will & Testament to be considered invalid in a foreign country. Typically, to avoid a Will being deemed invalid it must comply with the requirements of a valid Will in the foreign jurisdiction where a person’s assets are located. This is one reason why it is imperative to work with an experienced estate planner in the country in which your foreign assets are located – otherwise, you risk losing those assets or having them distributed in a way that is not according to your wishes. You also need to check with an experienced estate planning attorney in the United States to see how multiple Wills can affect your Will here.

While some aspects of estate planning can seem pretty rigid, it is important to look at them while keeping an eye on things that will allow for some flexibility. By building flexibility into your estate planning tools where it makes sense, you can save yourself from headaches down the road and also plan effectively for the unexpected events that happen during life. Additionally, flexibility in your approach to estate planning will allow you to effectively plan for changes in tax policy and even the value of your assets so that such changes will not significantly impact your ability to distribute your assets according to your wishes.

Determine Tax Consequences

One of the first things to do when building flexibility into your estate planning portfolio is to determine which options will have the greatest impact on taxes, not only for you but also for your heirs. This is especially important for younger people beginning the estate planning process. One of the most common questions is whether or not you should try to distribute your assets through lifetime gifts or if you should keep them in your estate to be distributed later. Without having a crystal ball to predict the future of the estate tax, this really depends on the current and potential value of the assets in question.

It is important to remember that whether your estate is subject to probate or not, you should make sure that you have designed a comprehensive estate planning strategy that effectively distributes all of your assets so that your family is not forced to rely on the state to make important decisions regarding the distribution of your estate. At the same time, smaller estate may be eligible for a process known as voluntary administration in New York. This process is also called disposition without administration or small estate proceeding, but regardless of what it is called it is important to understand the process especially if it may be applicable to you.

Basics of Voluntary Administration

Voluntary administration can take place whether or not the deceased person has left a Last Will & Testament. Typically, only personal property is eligible for distribution through voluntary administration. This means that if a deceased person solely owned real property such as a home that you plan to sell, then such property would not be eligible for voluntary administration and would presumably exceed the value of the small estate threshold. Currently, the New York small estate threshold is set at $30,000 which means that any estate valued over that amount will still be required to go through probate. Generally, any interested party may file to become the voluntary administrator of a deceased person’s estate that qualifies for voluntary administration.

Estate planning is a complicated process that involves a great deal of different nuances and other important aspects that can sometimes be overlooked. One of the most overlooked aspects of estate planning is preparing heirs for inheritance from an early age. According to a recent article from InvestmentNews.com, not doing so is one of the reasons that far less wealth was transferred to baby boomers from previous generations. Now, by engaging in responsible and comprehensive estate planning strategies with an experienced estate planning attorney, you can work productively to make sure that you are able to transfer as much of your wealth as possible to future generations according to your wishes.

Factors that Diminish Wealth Transfers

Being aware of various factors that can diminish wealth transfers may help you avoid those pitfalls. These factors include:

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.

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