estate planning and probate Archives

Types of trusts and their uses

One of the most complicated parts of life is actually deciding how to best pass your assets on after your death. You worked hard to earn what you have, so it's only natural to want to preserve as much of that from the government's grasp as possible.

Removing an executor from office

It might be easy for many in New York to assume that the most important people involved in the administration of an estate are the beneficiaries. Yet in actuality, a strong case might be made that it is the executor who plays the most important role. After all, it falls to the executor to ensure that the wishes of the settlor (as stipulated in the settlor’s estate instruments) are carried out. This brings with it a fiduciary duty, which (as detailed by the Cornell Law School) can result in serious penalties if breached. 

Do you need a trust as part of your estate plan?

Many New Yorkers believe they do not need to engage in any estate planning. Are you one of them? Maybe you trust your family members to wrap up the last of your affairs peacefully. Maybe you already set up beneficiaries on the accounts that matter most to you. You may have no dependents and would prefer not to make people feel as though you played favorites with specific items you own. None of this excludes you from the benefits of incorporating a trust into your estate plan.

Reviewing the benefits of special needs trusts

Creating a trust can be incredibly helpful, whether someone wants to gain peace of mind with the knowledge that their estate will be taken care of after they pass away or they want to ensure that those they love have assets that will help them tremendously in the future. For some people, however, estate planning can be particularly complicated. For example, some have a loved one with special needs, and they worry that passing down assets to this individual could make them ineligible for government benefits. Fortunately, special needs trusts can help people avoid this and they offer other perks as well.

Tom Petty's daughters and widow battle over control of trust

New York City residents may be reminded time and time again through advertisements, media and word of mouth exactly how important it is to see their estate planning while they still can. This emphasis may prompt the question of why estate planning is so important given that all it entails is ensuring that one's debts are paid and their remaining assets given to those they wish. Yet while that may be all that is needed in many situations, cases involving intangible properties (such as songs, art and writings) will often require continued management to ensure that they are not used without permission. If such scenarios, one will want to ensure that those managing the estate can effectively work together. 

What should I consider when choosing a power of attorney?

A power of attorney is a person you appoint to make health care decisions on your behalf. This might be necessary after a prolonged, life-threatening illness or if you've been involved in a serious accident and can no longer make decisions on your own. Because choosing the right person is crucial to your peace of mind, Very Well Health offers the following advice. 

Will New York enforce a no-contest clause?

As you work through the estate planning process in New York, the potential for discord to arise amongst your beneficiaries will no doubt come to mind. The last thing that you want is to see your estate's administration cause a rift between those that you love. Being transparent with your actions and open about your decision as you are preparing your estate planning instruments may help to avoid beneficiary disputes. There is, however, no guarantee that someone will not be completely satisfied with their designated stake in your estate (or the circumstances under which you made its stipulations), and will not then decide to contest your will. 

What would happen if you die without a will?

Having worked so hard throughout your life to accumulate the assets that will comprise your estate, one might assume that you would want to do everything that you can in order to ensure that you decide who receives them. Yet if you have not yet completed a will, then you run the risk of having the authority to determine the dispersal of your estate taken away from you. Imagine if your life in New York City were to unexpectedly end. What would happen if you still had not created a will? 

What is estate tax portability?

You will work very hard throughout your life in New York to accumulate assets and properties with the hope of them one day benefiting your future generations. The thought of having to lose any of the overall value of your estate to taxes, then, may be quite disheartening. Yet an estate tax management strategy should be included as part of the estate planning process. With the proper preparation, you may be able to avoid paying estate taxes altogether. 

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