Articles Posted in Estate Administration

New York law prevents spouses from being disinherited. Instead, a spouse who is disinherited may go to court and claim their “elective share” which is the greater of fifty thousand dollars or one-third of the estate.

Questions often arise as what the “estate” of the deceased spouse consists of. Naturally, any assets in the decedent’s name only and listed in the estate court proceeding apply. Other assets, known as “testamentary substitutes” because they do not pay by will, and is against which the spouse may make their claim are: bank accounts, investment accounts and retirement accounts with named beneficiaries other than the spouse or, similarly, those same asset if they have a joint owner other than the spouse. An exception would be if the other joint owner had made contributions to the joint account and then as to the contributions only.

Gifts made within one year of death are also available for the elective share claim. Oddly enough, life insurance is not considered a testamentary substitute however annuities are.

After a loved one passes away and you learn about that person’s estate plan for the first time, it’s common to encounter various emotions as you respond to the terms of the plan including shock, sadness, or even anger. Based on the estate plan’s appointments, beneficiaries, or other times, you might be left wondering if you will be able to raise any type of claim to challenge the terms of the estate plan. This article reviews some of the basics that you will need to follow if you plan on raising a strategy based on either undue influence or incapacity.

# 1 – Not Everyone Can Challenge a Will

Beneficiaries do not acquire protected interests in a person’s property until after that person passes away. Often, a person cannot attack a will until after that person’s death. This is because the person who creates the estate plan can theoretically alter the terms of an estate plan any time before the creator passes away. If a person is interested in challenging a Durable Power of Attorney or Health Care Proxy, however, a person can challenge these documents during a person’s lifetime. No restriction exists regarding who can challenge a person’s will. Often, one or more family members of the person who created the estate plan can challenge the document’s terms.

The estate planning start-up, Wealth, is pursuing a $180 billion U.S. market by utilizing a digital dashboard that updates holdings in real-time. Many technology companies have offered potential approaches to solving these issues ranging from WillMaker to EverPlans. The CEO of Wealth has stated that he believes his company is pursuing a more unique strategy by appealing to workers that want to offer more value-added benefits.

The Company’s Founding

The company was founded by the former CEO of the company Emailage, which has since been acquired by LexisNexis. The assets from such a sale allow individuals to create, manage, and visualize estate plans through a detailed ecosystem of proprietary legal documents as well as third-party APIs.

Estate planning relies on a countless number of assumptions. One assumption is that assets only flow in one direction: from older person to younger person. In reality, this does not always have to be the case. By making the most of some unconventional estate planning techniques, people can realize some tax and estate planning advantages. This is where the concept, of “reverse estate planning” comes in.

Some adult children who have more assets than parents and can help take care of the older generation. In these cases, reverse estate planning can play a valuable role. This is particularly true when parents will not be able to use the entirety of their estate and gift tax exemptions. This is just as true if a parent is in a lower tax bracket than their child. 

Tax Advantages through Reverse Estate Planning

The South Dakota Supreme Court recently reversed a circuit court’s order denying a petition pursuing appointment of a special administrator to seek a wrongful death claim for a deceased man’s estate. The Supreme Court held that the circuit court abused its discretion in failing to address certain discovery motions before deciding a special administrator petition.

After the man in question passed away, the circuit court decided that the deceased man’s surviving wife should function as his estate’s personal representative. The man’s children then petitioned for appointment of a special administrator to seek a wrongful death claim for the deceased man’s estate and later served discovery requests on the surviving wife pursuing information related to the petition. The court then denied the special administrator petition and found that the discovery issues were moot.

The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s decision and held that the circuit court gave the man’s children the chance to develop and later present evidence connected to their petition. 

The Treasury Department recently published its Priority Guidance Plan, which addresses areas like estate, trusts, and gifts. These items were described as a top priority by the department. The department also expressed the desire to establish final regulations that would enforce user fees associated with closing letters for estate tax as well as several other changes. For people about to participate in the creation or revision of an estate plan, this article reviews some of the most important changes that you should consider. 

What Parts of the Guidance Plan You Should Know

Some of the most important elements listed in the Priority Guidance Plan include:

Planning for your children’s educational needs is a worthwhile goal. Fortunately, various options exist for satisfying this goal. A 529 plan can prove to be a powerful tool for paying tuition as well as paying for other education-related expenses while realizing tax advantages. 

Following your death, however, no certainty exists that later plan holders will continue utilizing these plans to pursue your educational goals. Instead, you might decide to create one or more 529 plans to make sure that your children, grand-children, or other loved ones can pursue educational objectives. 

How 529 Plans Function

Understandably, many clients want to appoint children or grandchildren to receive their assets. Appointing a minor beneficiary directly to an account, however, can present its fair share of challenges. Unfortunately, clients often assume that the estate planning process is complete after they sign a will and trust. These individuals often then name the same individual named in their estate planning documents as the direct beneficiaries of their accounts. Remember, if a designated beneficiary is a minor at the time of an account owner’s death, several undesirable results can occur. This article reviews just some of the most important reasons why you should be careful when appointing a minor beneficiary. 

Problems with Naming a Minor

Some substantial reasons exist to dissuade you from naming a minor as the beneficiary of your estate. The most substantial of these problems include the following:

With the increasing availability of the COVID-19 vaccine and the rate of COVID deaths dropping in New York, it’s a good idea to be optimistic about what the future holds and to take some time to review your estate plan. While some people need to start from the beginning, others simply need to revise some terms in their estate plan. This article reviews some of the essential estate planning documents that you should make sure you have written. Remember, however, not all 

What Critical Estate Planning Documents You Should Make Sure to Write

Some of the vital estate planning documents that you should make sure to write include:

New retirees are well served to pay close attention to various financial considerations, which are commonly overlooked at the time of retirement. This article reviews some of the most critical estate planning issues that you should make to address either on or before when you retire.

# 1 – The Restructuring of Assets

At the time of retirement, people have spent decades accumulating a variety of assets. One goal of retirement should be to reduce the time and care necessary to maintain what you own. This will not only reduce the costs and length of probate for your estate but will also leave your loved ones with as few challenges as possible. During the restructuring, you might also decide to limit problematic assets.

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