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May 2015 Archives

The value of a spouse in New York estate planning

An important part of estate planning is determining who will be in charge of carrying out someone's wishes. In addition to having an executor of their will, people may also want to appoint a trusted individual as an agent under a power of attorney. Depending on how they are set up, a power of attorney may allow someone to make financial decisions for an individual or determine how that person should be cared for when they cannot make their own medical choices.

Traditional wisdom in estate planning may be changing

Increases in the federal estate tax exemption and in tax rates for wealthy individuals have changed the thinking of some estate planners. New York residents should consider a few suggestions when considering how to pass on their property to beneficiaries upon their death.

Trusts and life insurance policies

In some cases, New York residents might want to consider establishing a trust and making it the beneficiary of a life insurance policy. This might help those who have beneficiaries with special needs or that cannot manage money. A spouse or family member still receives money intended for him or her, and trusts in general keep one's wishes private and do not go through the probate process.

When to review an existing will

Due to the way that applicable laws change, over time the details of a will can be outpaced by the current legal environment. This is especially true when looking at a will through the lens of current tax laws. The goal of anyone who is writing a will should the to transfer as much value from an estate to the next generation, and it's important to think about how new laws can leave the terms of will too dated to serve their expected function.