Articles Tagged with nyc estate planning attorney

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 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.

With a new year comes many new changes. Now that we are already almost a quarter of the way into 2017, it’s important to look at the many options you have in the coming year to create a more comprehensive and up-to-date estate plan. Recently, we have written about ways to take care of your estate plan and important factors to keep in mind when making estate planning decisions. Below are some specific areas that you may want to consider regarding estate planning throughout the year.

  1. Review Documentation

Are all your documents complete? Are they signed where they need to be signed and placed in a secure location? An experienced estate planning attorney will review your estate planning documents for accuracy and to ensure they comply with the law, but you should be sure any additional documents – like insurance forms and beneficiary designations – are complete.

While many individuals only need to worry about personal assets, some also need to make plans for the future of their business upon their death. In fact, one of the most essential components of owning is a business is ensuring that it will remain viable should you be unable to. As businesses tend to be owned individually, they usually qualify as an asset that must go through probate. Estate planning can take into account various aspects of business ownership and help ensure that your wishes for your business are carried out as you see fit. You can nominate a person or persons to take ownership of your business, create a financial plan for your business, or do numerous other things that will ensure your hard work continues to thrive the way you would like it to. There are several reasons why it is important for business owners to make provisions for their business as part of their estate plan.


Failing to create a comprehensive estate plan for a business that you own puts your hard work at risk. A business could potentially end up in probate with various people vying for ownership, which could spell trouble for the business itself as well as its profits. You also risk your business traveling down the line of succession in New York to an individual that you may not want in charge.

Charitable contributions and gifts make up a large aspect of many estates. As with everything, there is a right way to give and a wrong way to give. Planning can help ensure that your gift is properly funded and distributed according to your wishes. This planning may include using qualified funds while you are living.

The 411 on QCDs

Individuals age 70 ½ or older are allowed under IRS rules to make direct charitable gifts from an IRA of up to $100,000 to public charities. These gifts are called qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) and are not required to report this distribution as taxable income on their federal income tax return. Historically, this tax break was voted upon and approved on an annual basis; as of 2015, it has been permanent.

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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