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

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 ...

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  • November 3, 2014