Many of the clients we meet with have misinformation regarding gifting their property. When properly used, gifting can be a valuable estate planning tool, but one issue you need to be aware of when you are transferring your property is that there may be unintended consequences.Some of the unintended consequences of improper gifting include: If you give property to an adult child, it could be at risk if that child is sued or files for bankruptcy. If you put money in your adult child's name … [Read more...] about Good Intentions and Bad Gifting
One of the goals of estate planning is to ease the burden of your passing on your loved ones, while facilitating the distribution of your property. You always hope that your family will understand and accept your wishes, but family dynamics and emotions can get the better of them.Estate litigation, such as contesting a will or disputing a trust, can not only tie up assets, but lead to more costs. Three things that can help avoid estate litigation:1. CommunicationTalk to your … [Read more...] about How to Help Avoid Estate Litigation
There are several estate planning tools that allow property to avoid probate, the legal process that administers and settles the estate of a deceased. But are there any advantages to probate, would it actually help an estate?There are several tasks that take place in probate, such as paying the bills of an estate, notifying creditors, notifying heirs and beneficiaries of the death, as well as passing the title of property. Some of these tasks can benefit certain estates.1. … [Read more...] about Does Probate Have Advantages?
There have been many advertisements touting the benefits of creating a living trust, many intimating that every estate needs one. Just to quickly review how a living trust works: A living trust is created by a Grantor, who names a Trustee to manage the trust's assets. In many cases, the Grantor can also be the Trustee, as well as the initial Beneficiary of the trust. On the receiving end, the Beneficiaries are the heirs that will benefit from the Trust once the Grantor has passed away. The … [Read more...] about Three Types of Estates a Living Trust may Benefit
Some of the tools that are mentioned during retirement or estate planning will refer to a contribution being “tax deferred” as a benefit. But what exactly does this mean?Tax deferred normally means that you will not pay a tax now, but will later. This phrase is commonly used when discussing various retirement plans. For example, an employer-sponsored 401K plan is considered tax deferred. When money is taken from your paycheck and put into your 401K account, that is income that is not taxed … [Read more...] about What Does the Phrase “Tax-Deferred” Mean in Retirement Planning?
When you pass away, what happens to your bills? Unfortunately, they live on, and one of the tasks that takes place in probate, the legal process that administers an estate when someone dies, is the payment of debt of the deceased.So who is tasked with this chore? Your estate’s executor handles this and many other duties during probate. Other tasks that take place during probate include: Assets are inventoried; Creditors are located and notified of the death; Beneficiaries (if there was … [Read more...] about Who Pays the Bills When you Die?
Did you know that the Veterans Administration offers a Veterans’ Aid and Attendance Pension as a benefit to eligible retired military personnel and their spouses? The program, called the A&A Pension, provides a monthly benefit for veterans and their surviving spouses that require assistance with the activities of daily living (ADL), such as bathing, cooking, and eating.In 2011, the benefit provides up to $1,632 monthly to a veteran, $1,055 to a surviving spouse, or $1,949 to a couple. … [Read more...] about Veterans’ Aid and Attendance Benefits
While the Federal estate tax has been in the news lately, many do not realize that New York State has an estate tax as well, as do several other states in the country. If you are a New York resident and your estate is valued at $1,000,000 or more, then your estate plan may need to address this tax burden. In addition, residents of other states who own real estate and/or tangible personal property located in New York, may also be subject to New York estate taxes.There are a number of estate … [Read more...] about New York’s Estate Tax
Many people avoid estate planning, as it is a topic that deals with several sensitive subjects, such as death, money, business arrangements, and family relationships. Some will put off even creating a will, as they would have to choose a guardian for their children, meaning they will have to address the heartbreaking scenario of someone else raising their kids. But consider the alternative, should you pass away with no will, it would be up to Surrogate's Court to determine the guardian for … [Read more...] about Can you Answer These Five Questions on Your Estate Plan?
One aspect of estate planning is providing for the management of an inheritance for your beneficiaries, those who receive inherited property. So what happens when that beneficiary is a minor child?If the person leaving the inheritance planned properly, there will be an estate planning tool in place to manage the inheritance until the child reaches a certain age. Popular tools that are used for this purpose include: Trusts: Leaving the inheritance in a trust allows an appointed trustee to … [Read more...] about What Happens When Children Receive an Inheritance?