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Articles Tagged with new york probate attorney

One of the more unique present day aspects of estate planning comes from the very mobile and connected nature that many people who need estate planning have. Many people will not just move across countries for their jobs but across borders. Globalization has brought the world closer together but added another layer of complexity for when it comes to protecting and planning for assets. A citizen of the United States needs to know what law governs taxation and their estate for their income, assets and holdings both in the United States and abroad.

Taxation Is Everywhere

Despite what many may believe, U.S. citizens and resident aliens are subject to U.S. income and estate tax on their worldwide assets. It does not matter what country those assets might be in, the income and assets must be reported. In fact, U.S. Citizens working overseas and foreign citizens considered residents of the United States must file reports with the IRS if the total value of their foreign financial accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the year. U.S. citizens who are officers or directors in a foreign corporation who own more than 10 percent of the foreign corporation must also report ownership.

PROBATE IS UNAVOIDABLE

It is a fact of life that we can never plan for the worse case scenario and there is always risk in anything you do. The law recognizes this special risk, at least in part, in wrongful death lawsuits. In order for a wrongful death action to proceed, a party must apply to the Surrogate’s Court to act as the personal representative of the estate. In essence, that person must stand in the shoes of the deceased for purposes of the wrongful death action. Any and all settlement or award monies must pass through the probated estate under the jurisdiction of the Surrogate’s Court. This can present special issues if you already have a will, but no trust or other legal device to bypass the probate process and your estate is close to the estate tax exemption threshold. The federal estate tax exemption is currently set at $5.45 million dollars.

Anything above the Federal exemption is taxed at a heavy 40 percent. New York’s estate tax exemptions are changing and will continue to change until 2019 when it will match the Federal government’s exemption amounts. After 2019 there is an added problem with New York’s estate tax exemption; specifically, if the entirety of the estate exceeds the exemption amount by five percent, the entirety of the exemption is forfeited and the entire estate is taxed. That means that if your estate is say, for example, 120 percent of the exemption amount, the entirety of your estate will be taxed under New York rates. At the same time, 20 percent of your estate will be taxed at 40 percent. It is important to note the difference between the exemption amount and the taxable rate.

        The death of a loved one is an especially traumatic event. Lives can be upended and surviving family members and friends can be left feeling lost and confused about how to carry on. This is especially true when the death occurs suddenly or under tragic circumstances. Unfortunately, the law does not provide grief-stricken family and friends much time to mourn their loss before important work must be done. This important work involves admitting the deceased’s estate to probate and then administering that estate.

        In New York and elsewhere, an individual who dies with a will or similar document in place is said to die testate. If a person does not have such a document in place, the person dies intestate.

  •         Dying Testate: If the deceased left a will, the first step of administering the estate involves probating the will, or proving the will’s validity. Usually this involves simply introducing the will into the appropriate court. Once the will has been probated, the executor or administrator named in the will is tasked with carrying out the wishes of the deceased as expressed in the will, settling any lawful debts the deceased must pay, and providing an accounting or report to the court showing that the deceased’s assets were dispersed according to the terms of the will.
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