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 ...

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 ...

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...

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 ...

Planning for Highly Appreciated Assets

When you acquire property (real estate, investments, etc.), what you pay for property you acquire is known as your “cost basis” or investment in the property. It is this number that becomes important when you determine the tax on any gain, when the property is sold. The basis rules become very important in estate planning.  Here’s why:  If someone gives you property, you get that person’s basis in the property, which is known as a “carry over basis.” But if you inherit property, you get a basis equal to the property’s fair market value on the date of ...