Articles Tagged with nyc estate planning lawyer

Estate planning can be an uncomfortable and confusing topic for many people. Nobody necessarily likes thinking about what will happen when they die. However, estate planning is an important activity for adults to consider, even those in their 20s and 30s. A recent article from USA Today highlights the need for millennials to consider estate planning as part of their plans as they move forward. In fact, the article cites a 2015 study that found more than 60 percent of Americans don’t have a will. This number likely includes a disproportionate number of millennials.

Responsible Financial Planning

Responsible, comprehensive financial planning doesn’t just involve being good with money. In the still-lingering shadow of the most recent recession and with an increased potential to carry large amounts of student loan debt, it isn’t uncommon for millennials to have a sense of the importance of treating money responsibly. However, while short-term money management can provide the foundation for a lifetime of financial stability, it is important to keep long-term financial planning in mind, too. Long-term financial planning includes the creation of a comprehensive estate plan that includes documents such as a Last Will and Testament, power of attorney, trust, and/or other related financial planning documents. As the article notes, these things are not just important for older adults – but for everyone.

Estate planning is not something that should be taken lightly, and understanding the gravity that comes with your estate planning decisions is an important part of creating a comprehensive estate plan. However, one of the most common problems with estate plans is that while they may accurately reflect your wishes, they don’t always reflect what your family thinks those wishes should be. That can leave them vulnerable to attack in court, which can cause unintended consequences for your assets. Aside from utilizing the services of an experienced estate planning attorney, there are some ways to avoid common issues that can give rise to litigation of an estate plan.

Pay Attention to Laws of Intestate Succession

Intestate succession laws help determine how a person’s assets are to be divided when they die if that person has no Will or their Will is found to be invalid. While you are certainly free to distribute your estate as you see fit, understanding the laws of intestate succession can help you distribute your estate in a way that will discourage Will contests because beneficiaries that stand to benefit little from having a Will invalidated will often think twice about doing so.

When you make the decision to see an experienced estate planning attorney to make a comprehensive estate plan to safeguard your assets and provide for your heirs, it can be a confusing process filled with a lot of legal terminology that might be new for most people. One of the biggest considerations in estate planning, and often one of the most confusing parts of it, is the effect taxes will have on an estate. To help you make the most informed decisions about what route you choose in planning your estate, it is important to have a full understanding of the different types of taxes that may come into play. One of those is known as the generation-skipping transfer tax, and the following information may be helpful in understanding it.

Life Estates

To fully understand the generation-skipping transfer tax, you first need to understand what a life estate is. A life estate is a type of estate in which ownership of real property – basically, a home and the land which accompanies it – is passed to another person and ends upon that person’s death. At that time, it may revert back to the original owner or it could pass along to someone else depending on the conditions you choose to set. In New York, life estates can be an easy way to ensure real property passes smoothly upon death without the need for probate. Life estates are also exempt from the federal estate tax. Usually, creating a life estate is a simple process, as is the transfer of property upon an owner’s death.

In a recent blog, we discussed pet owner’s options for naming their pets as beneficiaries in their wills. Another option for pet owners to provider for their pet after death is creating a pet trust. Pet trusts offer a wide variety of options to provide for the pet and can be used in conjunction with a will. Pet trusts are created during the grantor, in this case the pet owner’s, life, and can take effect immediately, or upon death of the grantor.

Unlike wills which leave interpreting some provisions up to the discretion of probate court, trusts are legally enforceable agreements that are carried out according to the provisions of the document. All the traditional rules of trust administration will be in effect for a pet trust as they are for any other trust. There will be a trustee named which will carry out the best interests of the maker of the trust and will be able to enforce the terms of the trust in court if necessary.

One feature of a pet trust that is distinct are the caretaking options. When establishing a pet trust, the maker can name who will take care of their pet in the event of incapacitation, who will have immediate custody upon your death, and how the animal is cared for.

According to the Pew Research Center, more Americans age 18-34 are living with their parents than in any other living situation. Over 32% of people in that age group live in their parents’ house which leads to an interesting estate planning dilemma for the parents.

While some adults who live with their parents are financially independent providing for their own daily living expenses and even paying rent, many living at home are in some way, shape or form financially dependent on their parents. This dependence can make estate planning even more important.

Discuss Your Plan

Many single mothers often overlook estate planning. It can be easy to put off these important decisions. Life is busy and making plans for your demise is something that no one wants to make time for. Well laid estate plans are the greatest possible gift you can leave your family.

Guardians

According to the U.S. Census Department, 81.7 percent of custodial parents are mothers. For single mothers, planning for the care of their children is one of the primary concerns of their estate plan. While no mother wants to even consider what will happen to their children if they aren’t around to raise them, not having control over that decision is even more alarming.

The Inheritance Left To University of New Hampshire By A Long Time Library Employee Was Spent In A Way That Raised A Few Eyebrows

Longtime University of New Hampshire library cataloguer died last year at the age 77. As his final wish to the world he left the entirety of his estate to the university where he graduated from and worked for most of his life. What shocked many though is the size of the humble librarian’s estate: four million dollars accumulated over a lifetime working for the university and living frugally.

But while many at the University of New Hampshire are thankful for the gift, the way the administration has decided to spend it has many asking if the university is honoring the librarian’s memory. One million dollars is being used to install a new video scoreboard at a new University of New Hampshire football stadium. Many students, alumni and community members wonder if this is the best way to use the funds considering the librarian’s occupation and passion for literature.  

New Department of the Treasury and Internal Revenue Service Final Regulations Now Reflect Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges and Windsor v. United States Rulings

On September 2nd, the final regulations that reflect the holdings of the Supreme Court rulings that upheld same-sex marriage laws around the country as well as Revenue Ruling 2013-173 were released to the public. The new terms in the regulations reflect the new descriptions of marital status of taxpayers for federal tax purposes.

A Brief History Lesson

You are always told that you can leave whatever assets you want in your will to whomever you want. After all it is your last will and testament. Your will represents your final wishes and they are to be carried out to the letter. You may be shocked to learn that in some cases under New York law that your will can actually be disregarded almost in its entirety, and that special case comes into play if you do not leave anything to your spouse.

Sacred Institution, Sacred Inheritance Rights

Marriage holds a special place in society and the laws of New York not only reflect that distinctive position but also protects the institution of marriage. Under New York’s Estate Powers and Trusts law section 5-1.1, a surviving spouse has the right to collect assets from a deceased spouse’s estate if the deceased spouse’s will either does not provide for the surviving spouse or does not give enough to the surviving spouse. It does not matter if the will has bequeathed those assets to someone else; the surviving spouse’s rights to the property trumps all others.

PROPOSAL TO MOVE BACK TO PREVIOUS TRUST LAWS

As this blog discussed in the recent past, dynasty trusts are trusts that allow for a benefactor to pass wealth on to future generations via various legal mechanisms that allow a trust to carry on for literally hundreds of years, overcoming the traditional rule against perpetuities that limited trusts to a life in being plus 20 years, thereby ending the legal life of a trust essentially at about 90 to 100 years.  In March, 2016 President Obama submitted a proposed budget that includes a provision that would effectively eliminate these state trusts at about 90 years.

Every year, the Department of Treasury prints what is called a green book which outlines proposals, which, among other things, contains suggestions that the presidential administration believes are needed and appropriate changes to the law, policy or other regulatory and legal matters.  It also contains information regarding exceptions and issues that are unique to dealing with the federal government.  Under President Obama’s proposal, as found in after page 190 in the green book, this would be done by eliminating the generations skipping tax exemption at 90 years from the date of its creation.  

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