Articles Tagged with manhattan estate planning

Probate law demands that an executor must pay the debts and other financial obligations of an estate prior to distribution of assets to a Decedent’s beneficiaries. Although heirs and beneficiaries are not legally responsible for paying off estate debt, the total value of the estate can be greatly reduced as result of debt obligations.

Priority debt obligations.

Living trusts have little protection from creditors while a Decedent is alive. Revocable trusts enable an executor to coordinate debt payments in advance. Claims made against irrevocable trusts can also provide a creditor access to additional funds during the probate process after a Decedent has died. Insolvent estates without adequate liquidity to pay debts and obligations may still be subject to debt obligations after court filing fees, attorney’s fees, and executor costs to administer the estate have been paid. Other priority debt obligations include funeral and burial costs; federal and state taxes; medical bills; child support claims; dependent family support claims; judgments; followed by all other debt.

Under state and federal laws, nursing homes can only evict patients for a limited set of reasons and are supposed to face serious civil penalties if they break the law to force residents out on the street. However, these same caregivers have very intimate knowledge of the regulatory system and often interpret resident behavior in such a manner that would allow the facility to expel an individual who would otherwise would have remain with the care facility.

While there are many reasons why a nursing home or assisted living facility may choose to evict a resident from their care, one of the all too common reasons may come down to greed as some patients services transition from Medicare to Medicaid. As a result, federal regulators have begun to step up investigation and enforcement actions against unscrupulous facilities who choose the more lucrative yet essentially illegal business practices.

In December 2017, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services sent memos to state nursing home inspectors notifying these departments that federal agencies would begin examining the discharge records from the nation’s 15,000 nursing homes. In 2015 alone there were almost 10,000 complaints filed by nursing home residents alleging they were wrongfully evicted from their facility. However, some elder legal advocates believe these numbers may be underreported because many more elders do not contest their eviction.

More and more often, families include less traditional definitions than they once did. Remarriages are more common, and cohabitation in lieu of marriage is also more common. In other words, blended families are increasingly common in our society today. If you are considering remarriage or have already remarried, it is extremely important to think about estate planning for your new marriage and how to either approach it from the beginning or revisit an estate plan that may already be in place. The following tips could prove useful for blended families exploring the estate planning process and may help you figure out where to begin your estate planning discussion with an experienced estate planning attorney.

Consider a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement is an agreement that you enter into with your perspective spouse before the two of you get married. It sets out terms that dictate the property and financial rights of the spouses in case of divorce. They can also be used to set forth terms of asset distribution and other important aspects of estate planning. By specifying these terms, you can help your loved ones avoid conflict between members of your blended family while ensuring that your wishes for your assets are carried out. A postnuptial agreement can accomplish many of the same goals but is entered into after you have already gotten married.

The internet provides us with a wealth of information at our fingertips. Unfortunately, some less scrupulous websites take advantage of the trust many people put into the internet and provide less than sound legal advice on important issues – like creating a Will and/or a trust. Sometimes, people mistakenly believe the advice they find on the internet, which can be wholly incorrect or only applicable in certain jurisdictions. One problem many individuals come up against is believing that they have a valid Last Will and Testament but what they really have is known as a holographic will.

What is a holographic will?

Basically, a holographic will is a will that has been entirely handwritten and then signed by the testator. Typically, such wills do not have witness signatures. For any Will to be valid, it must comply with the statutes governing trusts and estates in the respective state that the Will is being created and/or administered in. Sometimes, a state will allow a Will to be administered if it was created in another state and would have otherwise been valid in the state where it was created even if it contradicts the administering state’s laws. For the most part, holographic wills are invalid in most states.

Comprehensive financial planning is an intricate, multistep process that often goes hand-in-hand with comprehensive estate planning. There are many different financial planning options available to you when you begin thinking about planning for your retirement, and it is never too early to start looking into them. One of the most commons options people choose in planning for retirement is the establishment of a retirement account like an IRA or 401(k) plan. A recent article from The Motley Fool discusses three common missteps people make when approaching their retirement account withdrawals.

Waiting Too Long

The United States Internal Revenue Service requires minimum distributions from retirement accounts after age seventy and a half. However, that does not mean you need to wait until then to start taking these distributions. In fact, doing so could actually cause you unintended financial harm. By the time a person is seventy and a half, they have likely amassed a good deal of savings in these retirement accounts.

Comprehensive estate planning is an important consideration for everyone. There are many important factors to consider when engaging in responsible estate planning, not the least of which being how you want your assets to be distributed after your death. Most people will face questions about this concern at some point in their life, especially as they get older. However, a recent article from Forbes notes that women have some unique concerns when it comes to estate planning.

Healthcare Concerns

Statistics show that women live longer than men. In fact, the article notes that women are expected to live 4.9 years longer than men. This means that there are several more years of rising healthcare costs that women may need to worry about when engaging in estate planning and planning for retirement. Women need to make sure that their assets will be able to carry them through the extra years they will statistically have, which may involve paying close attention to your spouse’s estate planning portfolio because it could have a significant impact on your own estate planning choices and goals.

When an individual begins to engage in responsible, comprehensive estate planning, they inevitably end up discussing their retirement savings and investments accounts with their experienced estate planning attorney. One of the most common terms when it comes to these types of assets is required minimum distributions. While retirement accounts themselves can be incredibly complex, a recent article from The Motley Fool helps make understanding required minimum distributions relatively easy and can help you approach retirement and estate planning in a more informed, confident manner.

The Basics

You are required to start taking required minimum distributions from your retirement accounts by April 1 of the year following when you turn age seventy and a half. However, it may end up being a wise choice for you to take the first required minimum distribution the year that you turn seventy and a half instead of waiting until the next year because you will end up getting two in that year as you are also required to take one yearly by December 31. Combining two withdrawals can have a significant impact on your taxable income for the year depending on the characteristics of your account.

We have written several posts about the importance of addressing health-related issues as you engage in comprehensive estate planning and plan for your retirement. You may want to invest in long-term care insurance, or you may want to create a trust that you can fund with money to help you cover healthcare expenses as you age. Whatever your approach, a recent article reminds us of the importance of considering healthcare as part of a responsible estate planning strategy. Filing to do so could have a significant negative effect on your estate and the assets that you can pass on to your heirs.

Projected Costs

The article cites a recent Fidelity Investments estimate that the average couple retiring at age 65 this year can expect to have to pay approximately $275,000 for healthcare and related needs during their retirement. This astronomical number is six percent higher than it was in 2016. In fact, the uptick in healthcare costs during retirement have pretty much been on the rise since 2002, with most years seeing an increase in the estimated cost. Since Fidelity first did an estimate of healthcare costs in retirement about 15 years ago, the cost estimate has gone up 70 percent.

Experienced estate planning attorneys can provide a wealth of information to individuals looking to make the most out of their estate plan. However, as with any other area of law requiring specialized knowledge, good estate planning attorneys are not afraid to tell their clients where to look for additional information pertinent to their individual circumstances. Sometimes that means working with an experienced wealth planner while working with an estate planning attorney to make the most out of your assets. A wealth advisor can play an integral role in your estate planning approach, and a recent article from Forbes highlights the important role they can play.

Role of a Wealth Advisor

A good wealth advisor will work with your estate planning attorney to help find the estate planning mechanisms that will best enable you to preserve your wealth and make it available to your heirs. When they work closely with your estate planning attorney, much of the burden of communicating important information is removed from clients. Instead, they can help you assess the estate planning mechanisms you have in place and look for ways that your wealth could best benefit from modifying or even expanding your estate planning portfolio based on your individual needs. This is especially helpful for families with diverse financial needs or large financial portfolios, but can also be a tool for anyone that wants to make the most out of their estate.

For many people with animals, those furry friends are a part of the family. We make exceptions for them to make sure that they are taken care of while we are alive, and it is not uncommon for people to include provisions in their estate planning for pet care after a human companion passes away. Making sure your pets are taken care of after you pass is an important part of responsible pet ownership as well as an important part of comprehensive estate planning. However, a recent article from Fox News provides some reminders of traps to avoid when including your pets in your estate plan.

An Important Consideration

If you include provisions for your pet(s) in your estate plan, make sure they are realistic. A pet does not fit into everyone’s life, so when approaching estate planning for pets you first need to be confident that the person you nominate to care for your pet(s) is ready and able to accept the responsibility. This means that you will need to have a serious discussion with the person you are designating as the caretaker before you create provisions in your estate plan involving them. This important reminder extends to a number of different aspects beyond pets – and an experienced estate planning attorney can help you approach them correctly.

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