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

What Happens if You Die Without a Will?

will attorney
When you ask what will happen when you die, it’s not just an existential question. You want to know what will happen if you die without a will. There’s a myth that the government will take your assets, but that’s not true. Instead, your assets will be distributed to your heirs based on the laws of intestacy. To put it simply, your relatives will inherit your assets if you don’t get help from a will attorney. Fortunately, the law firm of Susan G. Parker, Esq. PC can help. Susan G. Parker offers estate planning services in Westchester County, including Briarcliff and ...

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  • April 2, 2018

Will the GOP’s Tax Plan Affect You?

GOP Tax Plan
Typically, I don’t write about tax bills because they may never become law. Congress’ latest plan for tax reform stands out, though, because it proposes to change many longstanding tax rules. But a lot of horse-trading goes on before final laws are enacted, and that’s already started. While there is a lot of talk about the proposed reduction in corporate taxes (from 35% to 20%), individuals may face tax changes that aren’t so beneficial. That will be the focus here. When it comes to personal tax deductions, many of us benefit from deductions for home mortgage ...

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  • November 9, 2017

Understanding Probate: And How to Avoid It

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Here is some more information about probate: Understanding Probate What is Probate? Probate is the legal process of petitioning the court to declare that a will is valid and appointing an executor to oversee the estate. The executor is the person chosen to carry out the wishes of the decedent. And the will provides instructions for what’s to be done. Probate assets are typically assets titled in the decedent’s name alone. Common examples include: Personal property such as furnishings, jewelry and collections. Bank accounts or deeds to real estate, in ...

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  • January 31, 2017

2017 retirement plan contribution limits

Elective Contributions to IRAs, 401(k)s and Other Qualified Plans On October 27, 2016, the IRS announced the new 2017 limits for IRA, pension and other contributions.  For the most part, the limits remain unchanged from 2016 because there was not a sufficient rise in the cost-of-living index, which is needed to trigger an increase. The maximum limit for contributions to IRA’s remains unchanged at $5,500 for 2017. If you are age 50 or older, you can contribute a maximum of $6,500 to an IRA for 2017, unchanged from 2016. You can make contributions to your IRA ...

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  • December 21, 2016

2017 Income Tax Update

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Income Tax Update The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA), which was enacted in 2013, made many tax changes affecting 2014 and later years.  ATRA put some new taxes and tax deduction phaseouts on the books.  Some of these that will impact tax returns for 2017 and later years are: 6% tax bracket 20% capital gains tax rate for higher income taxpayers 9% additional Medicare tax on higher earned income taxpayers 8% tax on net investment income for higher income taxpayers Phaseout limits for itemized deductions and personal exemptions Medical ...

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  • December 21, 2016

Trust this Attorney in Westchester County for Your Family’s Trust

The trust document spells out the rules of the road on how the property is to be held, managed and distributed. A trust document is also called a trust agreement, declaration of trust or a trust instrument. InterVivos or Testamentary/ Revocable or Not Trusts that are created under a will and do not come into being until you die, are referred to as “testamentary trusts.” Trusts created to be operative during your life, are called “inter vivos trusts.” These can be “revocable” or “irrevocable.” With a “revocable” or “living trust,” the person ...

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  • November 5, 2014

Title, Not Possession, Is 9/10ths of the Law

But when it comes to “legal” ownership of property and assets, the law often spells out who owns what. It’s important to follow the rules to protect your rights, because for many things, possession isn’t 9/10ths of the law. Let’s look at some common examples: JOINTLY HELD REAL ESTATE Two sweethearts, Jane and John, pool their funds and buy a condo. They put Jane’s name on the deed (e.g. legal title) to avoid problems with potential business creditors of John. When Jane’s name is on the deed, she is the owner for legal purposes. She is legally respons...

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  • November 5, 2014

Digital Assets in Your Estate Plan

As more and more people migrate their banking, purchases and private activities online, we become ripe for the taking by the unscrupulous. How can this impact my mother? Well let’s just follow yesterday’s headlines. Over 6 million linked in passwords were posted online in China, for others to hack through. Why does it matter who can get to our linked in persona? Well it’s not to access our work history and resumes. It’s the value in a linked in password that is likely the same as the password we use for online banking and other valuable web venues. If ...

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  • November 5, 2014