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September 2017 Archives

Do spouses' wills have to be the same?

As you help your aging parents with their estate plans, you may wonder if they both need a will or if they should get a joint one, especially if they agree on the distribution of their assets. Even if they have the same desires, they should have their own wills.

Estate planning goes beyond finances

When individuals and couples living in New York begin the estate planning process, they are often concerned about what will happen to their real estate, investments, and savings after they die. While these are all important issues, it is also critical that estate planning address nonfinancial concerns, such as child guardianship, end-of-life planning, family pets and the distribution of personal effects.

How to account for an IRA in an estate plan

New York residents can generally leave funds within an IRA to whoever they feel deserves it the most. If there is no person worthy of receiving the money, it may be possible to donate it to a charity. However, how an IRA is transferred generally depends on who is receiving it. For instance, if an IRA is left to a spouse, he or she could simply roll that money into his or her own account.

The use of trusts to protect assets in an estate plan in New York

Investors and others with many assets who are creating an estate plan may need to use trusts to protect those assets. This can be important because without effective estate planning, as much as half of an estate's value may be lost to taxes when assets pass to beneficiaries.

The importance of choosing the right trustee

When New Yorkers are planning their living trusts, they will need to consider who to name to serve as their successor trustees. This decision is important because administering a trust is a complex and technical process, and the trustee must also be someone who can be trusted to work in the best interests of the beneficiaries.

3 reasons you should avoid a DIY estate plan

With so many tools available online today, it can be tempting to create an estate plan on your own. While you might think you will save a lot of money and hassle with a DIY approach, it can come back to bite you or your heirs. The truth is, bypassing an attorney to get your estate planning documents can result in a plan that does not work or follow the proper laws.