Articles Tagged with new york city elder law estate planning

While everyone needs an estate plan, demographics show that women in particular should take steps to address the matter.

Living Longer & Needing Care

On average, women live five years longer than men. This means women have to face a few realities: (1) they are more likely to require long-term care, and (2) will require care for a longer period of time than their male counterparts.


Social security survivor benefits may seem like a relatively straightforward issues to understand. Indeed, it can be for the majority of people, but with the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges that states must recognize the right of all couples, including same sex couples, to marry, the issue of social security survivor benefits for spouses and even for children should at least be touched upon. The opinion in Obergefell may be as monumental of an opinion as the Court ever penned. While only history will tell, the social consequences may be of the same magnitude as the Supreme Court’s opinion in Brown v. Little Rock Board of Education, requiring racial integration of schools across the country.

The implications ripple throughout the law, from tax law to social security benefits to family law, estate planning, bankruptcy and even elder law. Less than a year prior to the writing of this blog there was a patchwork of treatment for same sex couples, which was anything but similar in its treatment of two similarly situated couples, with the only difference being what jurisdiction the couple lived in. Social Security indeed denied some same sex life partners survivor benefits when a couple resided with each other as spouses for decades. Even before the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Obergefell some who be widows/widowers (but for the state law denial of this right) sued the Social Security for this disparate treatment.

It happens often enough that a parent for many reasons decides to disinherit one, several or all of his/her children.  At the same time, this is often not a controversial decision and is just as common both understandable and predicable.  Perhaps a person promised their estate to a specific child, stepchild or niece or nephew for taking care of them instead of being required to be sent to a long term continuing care facility.  Perhaps the parent provided financial largesse to his/her via college education, graduate school and even helped them purchase a house but had one child who had special needs who always lived at home and insured that child’s future by funding a trust during his/her lifetime and then disinherited all of his/her other children by putting the whole of the estate into the trust.  

Mickey Rooney was a very well known and well paid actor that had a long career, with many children and many marriages and disinherited his children.  He instead left his estate to his stepson and explained that his kids were better off than he was.  By the time Mr. Rooney passed, his estate dwindled to just about $18,000, so there was little incentive for any of his kids to contest the will, although the same did not hold true for Mr. Rooney’s then current spouse.  Unfortunately for some families, this can be a shock and there are sufficient incentives for the family to contest the will.  


Contact Information