Estate Planning Tips for Snowbirds

I’m sure that I’m not alone thinking now would be a good time to be in Florida. For many New Yorkers, what starts out as a seasonal home morphs into a primary residence. Aside from the weather, Florida is also known because it has a property tax increase cap if the home is your primary residence, and no state income tax. New York’s State income tax presently graduates from 4% to roughly 8.82% on amounts above $2 million. If you’ve been a New York resident and make Florida your new home, will the New York estate planning documents still be valid? The answer is ...

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  • January 15, 2019

Year-End Tax Thoughts for New Yorkers

At the end of last year, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which took effect in 2018. Although it’s expected to “sunset” as of January 1, 2026 (in 8 years), you may need planning now.  $10,000 Cap on State, Local and Property Taxes For NewYorkers, the new $10,000 cap on deductions available on your federal tax return for state and local taxes, could be costly. Let’s say your wages are subject to $9,000 of state and city taxes, and your property taxes are $14,000. In the past you got a state tax deduction of $23,000 on your federal return. Under ...

Westchester County Estate Attorney

You want to get your estate in order, and you know you have two options. You can print some documents off the internet and try to do it yourself, or you can hire a Westchester County estate attorney. Unless you are well-versed in estate planning law, it’s important to choose a Westchester County estate attorney. Your attorney will protect your interests and ensure the estate planning process goes smoothly. A Clear Understanding of State Laws Each state has its own set of laws that govern estates. Your Westchester County estate attorney has a full understanding ...

Do You Need a Trust Attorney?

Trust Attorney
Estate planning is an important part of getting your affairs in order. During the estate planning process, you’ll need to decide if you want a will or trust. Look at some reasons why you might need a living trust. Then, you can hire a trust attorney to handle it for you. Avoid Probate Many people turn to an Armonk trust attorney to set up a living trust so they can avoid probate. If you have a will, it will have to go through probate, and that can take months or, in some cases, years. On the other hand, your assets can be distributed in weeks if you use a trust. Your ...

Why You Must Have a Will!

Time and again, I see clients feel great relief when they write a will. They have chosen the executor who will take charge of their estate, named a guardian to care for young children (if needed) and selected a trustee to manage a trust they create – to protect assets or avoid probate. Things feel settled. That difficult task is done. Phew. It’s not too late to give yourself this gift. Contact us today to have this off your “to-do” list by the holidays.   You absolutely need a will if you want to provide for your significant other, best friend or ...

A Tribute to Aretha Franklin

I Say a Little Prayer for Aretha’s Family With the passing of Aretha Franklin, we lost our first lady of soul. Estimates are that her estate is worth $80 million – and that may not count ongoing royalties. Despite all that wealth, Aretha died without a will. That’s where my little prayer comes in. The federal estate tax of 40% does not apply to a person’s estate unless there are more than $11.2 million in assets. But Aretha did. Her federal estate tax bill alone could be close to $30 million. Some good news, though: Michigan is one of the 38 states that have NO ...

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  • October 11, 2018

Using Living Trusts As A Will Substitute

USING A LIVING TRUST AS A WILL SUBSTITUTE Instead of leaving property to a loved one under a will, clients often create a “living trust” to get the job done. With a living trust, it is easier to change beneficiaries, as well as who gets what when you pass away. Changes to a living trust can be made more easily than changes to a will. Some Background: A “trust” is a legal arrangement where the property is transferred to another (a trustee) to hold on behalf of himself or someone else, who is referred to as a beneficiary. A trust is governed by a trust “agre...

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  • September 5, 2018

Fearful Lawyers

Lawyers Have Fears Too I recently read an article in the American Bar Association Journal, titled: “32 of Lawyers’ Most Common Fears.” That number alone gave me pause. Did you know that the top fears include: Feeling their offices or cases are out of control Looking foolish when asking questions Seeming “too nice” Being blamed Speaking in public Lacking skill or confidence Intimidation by superiors and judges Suffering pain, humiliation, and shame if defeated Being attacked or outsmarted by their counterparts Isn’t this similar ...

Estate Planning for Your Home and Your IRAs

For many clients today, their homes and IRAs represent their biggest assets. And both require special care and handling when leaving them to loved ones as part of an estate. Real estate passes per title on a deed and IRA assets pass to those designated in a beneficiary designation form. These assets only pass under a will if there is no joint name on a deed and no beneficiary designation form for an IRA. Often when people come in for an estate planning consultation, they believe that if they write a will, all of their assets pass per instructions under a will. This is ...

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  • June 11, 2018

Probate Vs. Non-Probate Assets

What They Are and Why it Matters Probate is the process of having a court determine if a will is properly executed so that estate administration can get underway. As part of the process, a fee is paid to the county and notification is given to creditors, heirs, and beneficiaries. What most people don’t know though, is that the only assets which pass under your will, are those in your name alone. Assets which pass under your will are known as “probate” assets. You can easily avoid probate if the property is jointly owned, owned by a trust, or is an account or an ...

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  • May 29, 2018