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June 2016 Archives

When to use a trust for an IRA

Placing an IRA account into a trust fund is fairly uncommon. However, there are some situations in which dispersing the funds at a later date is the best estate planning option. New York residents who own IRAs should be aware of how to plan so that their funds are used as intended.

Creating powers of attorney in New York

Nobody wants to dwell on the fact that they may eventually lose their mental faculties, but many older individuals develop Alzheimer's Disease or dementia. This prevents these people from being able to make informed choices about their finances or health care. Therefore, it is important that individuals plan for this eventuality by creating powers of attorney that give family members or friends the ability to make financial and medical choices in the event they become incapacitated.

Tips for reducing the size of an estate

New York residents who want to try to reduce the size of their estate below the federal estate tax exemption, which in 2016 stands at $5.45 million for individuals and $10.9 million for married couples, have a number of options available to them. Couples may give away up to $28,000 annually per recipient as a gift while individuals may give away $14,000 per recipient. This can add up to $140,000 per year for a couple with five children who give them the maximum amount. People who are considering making gifts to minors may want to speak to a professional about how to best do so in a responsible way.

The when and why of updating estate plans

While drawing up a plan for your estate is a process within itself, it shouldn't be treated as something that gets signed and stashed away. For many that have put these plans into place, they can be outdated by five years or more and often don't reflect major life events - such as marriage, birth or creating a new business - which would significantly affect the way that the plan is written.

Why you should tell your kids about your estate plan now

Estate planning is not always an easy topic to discuss, especially with your children. However, there are some great reasons to have your children involved in the process. Doing so can go a long way to help avoid any discrepancies and confusion in the future.

How a joint tenancy differs from tenants in common

New York residents who are preparing their estate plan may wonder what the difference is between a joint tenancy with survivorship versus a tenancy in common. One of the major differences has to do with the concept of survivorship.

Preparing for state estate tax in New York

While people in New York may be aware of the $5.45 million federal estate tax exemption, they also need to keep in mind that the state of New York has an estate tax as well. However, until 2004, it was possible to claim state tax against estate tax exemptions in a number of states. This meant that states got the benefit of estate tax payments without increasing a person's actual tax bill.