Articles Tagged with nyc estate planning

There are many reasons why discussing your comprehensive estate plan with your beneficiaries is important. Not only can it help clarify your decisions and provide the reasoning for some choices that may otherwise cause conflict and strife, but it can prepare beneficiaries for their role in the estate plan.

Sometimes, circumstances arise in which a beneficiary may not want the inheritance that is being left to them or it may simply not be practical to accept it. When these situations arise, the beneficiary may have the option of turning down – or disclaiming – the inheritance.

Reasons for Disclaiming an Inheritance

Comprehensive estate planning is a long-term process. It is not complete simply because the many pieces of your estate plan have been considered and put into place. Your estate plan must be reviewed periodically, and with so much at stake it must also be protected. In addition to taking important basic precautions to protect your estate plan, you may also benefit from an additional form of protection by enlisting a trust protector.

What is a trust protector?

For estate plans that have a trust in place, and especially for those with several different trusts in place, it is important to ensure that trusts are administered in a legal way that meets your goals for establishing the trust. When you establish a trust, you must also designate a trustee. Trustees are entrusted with administering a trust according to the terms of the trust and the goals you have established for that trust.

A comprehensive estate plan is more than just a Last Will and Testament coupled with a trust. In includes important aspects that require careful planning for a long period of time. For instance, considering long-term medical care as part of your financial outlook and retirement planning is an important part of your estate plan because it can help safeguard assets and provide a source of financial support for your long-term needs so you can avoid draining assets from your estate to pay for unexpected costs. However, you should also consider planning for challenges like incapacity to ensure the integrity of your estate.

Tools for Planning

A durable power of attorney can help protect your rights and assets in the event of incapacitation. These documents nominate an individual to make important legal and financial decisions for you, especially in relation to your assets. The individual you nominate can work within the authority you provide them with to protect assets within your estate.

While comprehensive estate planning is an important discussion, it is not typically one families have while sitting around the dinner table or enjoying family game night. The fact is that estate planning can be a difficult topic to bring up, and discussions about the approaches you and your spouse will take can be even more challenging.

However, talking to your spouse about the importance of estate planning – especially if you have a family to provide for – is something that has to happen at one point or another if you and your spouse want to ensure the integrity of your estate and the assets within it. The following tips might help you broach the subject.

Be Clear About Your Objectives

The impact of the newest tax reform efforts will likely take a long time to settle in. However, there are many potential short-term changes that could impact retirees in the coming years. That means that reviewing and revising your estate plan could be an essential component of being prepared for the effects of new tax approaches. Recently, published an article giving some insight to some of these changes.

Changes to Property Tax Deductions

Under the new tax plan, only $10,000 of property tax can be deducted federally. That means that retires may more readily consider the impact this deduction has on their tax liability. Many retirees may consider moving from sates with higher property tax to ones with lower property tax in order to take advantage of the deduction but avoid spending additional money in property taxes that cannot be recouped.

While the stereotype of the wicked stepmother is – appropriately – more a figment of the movies than reality, stepmothers can and do play an important role in estate planning. Much like other members of blended families, it is important to address the role a stepmother will play when it comes to your comprehensive estate plan. Recently, Forbes published an article noting that stepmothers are often associated with challenges to an estate plan. This makes sense because, as the article notes, statistics show women live longer and often outlive their husbands. Understanding the source of some of these challenges and working with an attorney to help prevent them can be beneficial for everyone involved.

Late-In-Life Marriages and Estrangement

A common presumption when it comes to marriage that happen later in life is that one person is solely in the marriage for an inheritance, especially if such a marriage is subject to a significant age difference. Such marriages can stand to alienate children, though such alienation can occur with remarriages at any age.

Divorce is never an easy experience, no matter what age it occurs at. However, individuals going through a late-in-life divorce may be even more surprised at some of the challenges this experience can present. Many of the difficulties experienced by older individuals that make the choice to get divorced can have a significant impact on their estate plans. A recent article from provides some insight as to how a late-in-life divorce can impact your estate plan from those that have experienced it.

Difficult Job Market

While the economy may be on the road to recovery, history has shown us that can change at any moment. Even in the best of economic times, finding a job that can help maintain the standard of living you are accustomed to or want to experience can be very difficult at any age. According to individuals that provided commentary for the article, this is an exceptionally difficult task for older individuals. The problem may be compounded for spouses that have been out of the job market for a longer period of time, or who may not meet the educational requirements that many positions now demand.

There are a number of important factors to consider when it comes to comprehensive estate planning. Every family has unique needs, and every estate plan is different and designed in a way that best meets those needs. However, many estate plans include life insurance as an important component of ensuring loved ones are taken care of. While life insurance can be an important part of an estate plan, it is important to plan appropriately to make sure you can make the most out of your life insurance policy.

Life Insurance and Estate Tax

The new tax bill has raised the estate tax threshold quite a bit by doubling it to an individual threshold of $10 millions and a married threshold of around $20 million, with the actual number dependent in some part on inflation. The change in the law is not permanent, either. In fact, it will expire in 2025 absent further action by Congress.

Comprehensive estate planning is challenging, and the process is unique for every couple and individual. Most people put a lot of time and energy into crafting an appropriate estate plan, including working with an experienced estate planning attorney to make sure that the estate planning mechanisms they want to put in place comply with applicable law and will accomplish the person’s goals for his or her assets. We have recently written about some warning signs that your estate plan may be at risk of being challenged, but there are steps you can take to minimize that risk.

Work with an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

Preparation is key in estate planning. Not only can being prepared help you ensure that the assets you have worked hard for are secure, but it can also help you avoid unwarranted challenges to your estate plan. Working with an experienced estate planning attorney can help you make sure there are no legal loopholes in your estate plan and that it complies with both federal and state law. This in itself can help avoid may challenges to an estate plan. The earlier you start to engage in comprehensive estate planning, the less likely your estate plan will be challenged on technical and legal grounds because you can avoid many claims of undue influence or issues related to your state of mind when creating your estate plan.

Understanding the different aspects of estate planning is a crucial part of creating a comprehensive estate plan that accomplishes your individual goals. For probate assets, many individuals utilize a Last will and Testament to direct the distribution of assets subject to probate. Non-probate assets, such as life insurance policies and assets held within a trust, are distributed upon death according to the mechanism for distribution contained within the asset and are usually directed by the nomination of a beneficiary. It is extremely important to remember beneficiary nominations when creating, reviewing, and revising your estate plan.

Common Beneficiary Pitfalls

One common beneficiary pitfall occurs with assets like bank accounts that often have a payable on death beneficiary option. With these options, a bank is directed to distribute assets within the account covered by that designation to the person listed as the payable on death beneficiary. This can cause unintended problems if your Last Will and Testament directs your bank assets to be distributed differently, and may result in an unintended Will contest that could jeopardize other aspects of your Will. Making sure that beneficiaries for these types of assets are properly aligned with other provisions of your estate planning documents is an important part of ensuring your wishes are carried out.

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