Articles Tagged with nyc estate planning

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.

The estate planning process can be complex and confusing, which is one of the reasons it is a good idea to work with an experienced estate planning attorney as part of creating a comprehensive estate planning strategy. This is especially true for business owners. Recently, we wrote about some important estate planning considerations for business owners. One potential question many business owners may have when considering estate planning for their business is whether or not it is a good idea to remain in control of their business or transfer their business to their heirs.

When a business owner wants to remain in charge of their business, this can be a difficult question because transferring the ownership of a business can often mean transferring the management responsibilities of the business, too. While the answer as to whether or not remaining in control of your business is right for you depends on each business owner’s individual circumstances, one possible technique to consider is business recapitalization. Business recapitalization will allow you to separate ownership from management, and could be the right strategy for you.

Benefits of Recapitalization

Comprehensive estate planning involves more than just creating a Last Will and Testament and possibly a trust for your heirs. Estate planning is also an opportunity for you to make sure that your wishes for end-of-life care and other related decisions are known to those who will administer your estate, your loved ones, and your estate planning attorney. For many people, part of end-of-life planning and care often includes nominating a Health Care Proxy. The State of New York Office of the Attorney General offers individuals some clarification and advice related to a New York Health Care Proxy.

Health care Proxy: An Introduction

In New York, a Health Care Proxy is available to anyone over the age of 18. The purpose of a Health Care Proxy is to allow you to appoint a trusted person to make health care decisions for you should you be unable to make such decisions yourself. The inability to make health care decisions could arise because you are being kept alive via artificial means such as life support machines or even because you are unconscious for certain medical reasons. When a health care agent has been entrusted with the authority to remove you from or prevent you from undergoing potentially life sustaining treatments or procedures, New York requires that a second doctor must confirm the original doctor’s determination that you are unable to make your own health care decisions.

In general, estate planning can be a difficult topic for many people. It can be especially difficult and personal when it comes to determining specific funeral plans that you may have. However, even though it is a difficult subject, it is important to consider how funeral planning as part of comprehensive estate planning can actually help your loved ones be more at ease when the time comes for them to make decisions regarding your funeral arrangements. A recent article in The Wall Street Journal serves as a reminder that if you are considering estate planning or have already created a comprehensive estate plan, you may want to consider including a funeral planning document to help your loved ones make decisions related to burial in accordance with your wishes.

Funeral Planning Documents

While planning for end-of-life care can be complex, ensuring that you do so accurately and completely is critical to saving your loved ones from unnecessary hardships as well as for ensuring that your wishes are adhered to. Including funeral planning documents can be an important part of the process. Many people are aware of other end-of-life forms, like a Healthcare Proxy nomination, but overlook funeral planning.

Dogs, cats, parakeets, horses, iguanas, ferrets…no matter the pet you have in your life, chances are you treat them more like family than just a possession. We want to make sure our pets are comfortable, have the best food, have plenty of entertainment, are healthy, and enjoy a long, happy life. It is possible to make sure that those conditions exist for pets even after pet owners pass away. By utilizing a trust, you can help make sure that your best friend is well taken care of.

Pet Trusts

A recent article in USA Today talks about the function that a pet trust can serve. Pet care can be very expensive. There are grooming costs, medical costs, food costs, and other costs related to keeping a pet. Generally, the bigger the pet, the greater the cost of care can be. In fact, the article notes that Americans spent roughly $62.8 billion on pet care in 2016. While pet trusts are certainly less common than trusts created for human heirs, they can serve an important purpose in making sure that any pets you have can enjoy the same quality of life after your passing that you were able to provide for them.

A growing family often includes children. Sometimes, children come with special needs that need to be attended to throughout their lives. These special needs can include physical, mental, emotional, and/or developmental disabilities. When such needs arise, they can cost a great deal of money on a regular basis. A common concern parents or family members of individuals with special needs often have is how those individuals with special needs will be taken care of later in lifer when parents or family members have passed on. For these families, a special needs trust might be the answer.

An Introduction to Special Needs Trusts

A special needs trust is a trust established to address the long term needs of an individual with a disability that may require lifelong care. Many individuals with disabilities may qualify for state benefits and assistance to help offset the cost of long-term medical care and other costs that may arise. If the parents or family members of a person with special needs were to leave assets to the person with special needs, the inheritance may cause the individual to lose benefits provided by the state because the inheritance could cause their income to surpass the level under which a person is eligible for state benefits.

Today, moving across the world is far more common than it used to be. More college-age students leave their home countries to pursue educational experiences abroad, and many often remain in the country in which they choose to study. Others leave their home country for a job opportunity or to start a new family of their own. Whatever the reason for leaving, many residents of the United States born in other countries that still have strong, close familial ties in those foreign countries may be at risk of losing portions of the inheritance their family members in other countries may wish to give them.

Tax Consequences

Not every country has a version of the estate tax, though the United States estate tax is not the highest estate taxing country out there according to Tax Foundation. As a result, residents of many other countries may not have to contend with an estate tax in planning to distribute their estate. Leaving an inheritance to their children outright is likely commonplace and causes little disruption to the inheritance process in many places. However, when a citizen of a foreign country wants to leave an inheritance to their child that may be a U.S. citizen, there can be estate tax complications. With the United States estate tax rate of 40 percent, this can have a significant impact on a U.S. child’s foreign inheritance.

Almost every facet of today’s world seems to be based on technology in one way or another. From the phones we use to the cars we drive, technology is everywhere and new technology is emerging each day. We use technology to manage many of our assets as well as to store personal mementos and other important items. You may also have important information about insurance and retirement accounts stored online that isn’t necessarily readily accessible to your heirs. Unfortunately, traditional estate planning practices don’t always protect your digital property. The Legal Intelligencer recently reported on the importance of protecting your personal digital property with proper estate plan provisions.

Types of Personal Digital Property

Protecting your digital property begins with understanding exactly what is included, which can be more than you might think. The article breaks down personal digital property into three categories, which include:

It may sound like common sense, but the older you are the longer you’re going to live. According to the Social Security Administration, men who reach age 65 can expect to live until age 84 and women who reach age 65 can expect to live until nearly 87. People are living longer lives and many Americans are living twenty years beyond their retirement. This increased longevity forces many people to change the way they view their later years.

Requiring Care

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly seventy percent of people turning age 65 can expect to require some form of long-term care during their lives. Not only is the chance of needing long-term care high, many people are requiring care for a longer duration. This increased benefit duration affects women more than men. Women tend to need 3.7 years of care, on average, while men require only 2.2 years. Almost twenty percent of seniors will need care for more than five years.

Inheriting physical real estate, such as a home or vacation cabin, can be tricky to navigate. You have to consider your desire for the property, potential expenses involved in ownership, and the process of transitioning ownership of the property to your name. These situations become more complicated when you add joint ownerships and partial interests.

People have been known to leave homes or vacation properties to their children to have in equal shares. This is common in cases where the property has been in the family for generations. Property left to multiple people is considered equally owned as “tenants-in-common” or “co-tenants”. All co-tenants have the right to use all of the property and share in any profits or liabilities from it.

“I don’t want a cabin in the woods if my brother’s there too.”

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