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August 2016 Archives

Trusts and estate planning

As they begin planning how to dispose of their assets after they die, New York residents may be wondering if a will or a trust is the best way to go. Some trusts can ease the tax liability and may make it easier to settle an estate, since probate is avoided.

Conflicts over trusts

When New York residents establish a trust, they usually have good reasons to do so. Trusts exist to ensure that the settlor's wishes are respected. Some settlors want to avoid probate, while others are concerned that their heirs would not handle a lump sum inheritance under a will wisely and thus want the distributions to be spread out over a period of time.

You're divorced, but can your ex still get your money?

After all the heartache, anger and expense of filing for divorce, it is done. Your property was divided, the custody battle is over and monthly payments have been agreed upon. You are pretty confident that your ex-spouse is done getting any more out of your dwindling assets. Have you checked your estate plan?

Learning more about trusts

For some New York residents, a trust may be preferable to a will that has to go through probate when an individual passes away. Those who have a trust will name one or more people to oversee its administration. In addition to naming one or more trustees, it may be possible to include a trust protector provision. This gives one person the power to interpret the trust's language if there is a disagreement among trustees.

Ensuring that a person's wishes are followed after death

In some cases in New York, people might worry that their wishes will not be honored by their family members after they die. When a person dies, leaving a spouse behind, his or her assets will normally pass to the spouse. The person might be concerned about making sure that the spouse follows his or her wishes when the spouse also dies, especially in situations in which the family is blended.

When to add a trust to an estate plan

A will is the cornerstone of most estate plans. It is a document that outlines where assets go after an individual passes away. It may also name a legal guardian for a minor child. Trusts name a trustee and are used to hold assets on behalf of beneficiaries. There are several factors that may determine whether an individual needs a trust.

What is a wealth transfer plan?

Over 50 percent of American adults do not have estate plans, and those lacking this preparation may inadvertently create a very tangled and painful situation for surviving family members. Surprisingly, even those who do have estate planning documents can trigger the loss of family wealth for generations to come. While most people know they should have a will and may even work with an attorney to draft one, they are unfamiliar with the concept of a wealth transfer plan, which should always be part of a comprehensive estate plan. Wealth transfer planning involves taking proper steps to prepare and inform family members in advance about the goals for the estate and where assets will be transferred.