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September 2019 Archives

How to add flexibility to an estate plan

When structured properly, trusts can be powerful estate planning tools for New York residents. In 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was passed, and it increased the estate tax exemption until at least 2025. While that could be a good thing for many people, it is also worthwhile to plan for the possibility that the rules change again after the legislation expires.

Financial power of attorney

Many people living in New York understand the importance of estate planning. These individuals will write and regularly update their wills. They may also regularly review beneficiaries on insurance policies and investment accounts. However, some do not consider the possibility that they may become incapacitated before they die.

How to make settling an estate easier

When an individual dies in New York or any other state, the executor of the estate is called upon to settle the deceased person's affairs. The executor can either be appointed by a court or appointed by the deceased individual in a will or through a trust. Whoever is chosen to serve in this capacity has a variety of responsibilities such as paying off debts, inventorying assets and filing tax returns.

Choosing between a will and a trust

Estate plans in New York and around the country usually include a last will and testament and, in some cases, at least one trust. The majority of the estate will usually be distributed according to the provisions of one of these documents, and they both have advantages and disadvantages. Trusts are often used for this purpose because the assets placed into them are not subject to probate, which saves both time and money. Avoiding probate also allows estates to be administered more discretely as trust documents are not filed with the court and are thus not available to the public.