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October 2019 Archives

Can you be responsible for a deceased parent’s debts?

Losing a parent can be one of the most difficult things you may ever go through. In addition to the emotional toll the loss of a parent can take, you may also have to work through a number of estate planning and probate-related matters. If your parents failed to make estate plans, you may face even more of an uphill battle.

Choosing a trustee is an important decision

New York residents who choose to include trusts in their estate plans sometimes find selecting a trustee difficult. Trusts provide individuals with more control over how their assets will be distributed, offer tax benefits and allow estates to be administered without first going through the probate process, but these and other benefits may not be fully realized if the appointed trustee is unqualified or unsuitable for the role.

Key issues when making an estate plan

When New York residents think about estate planning, they may want to consider the future of their assets for generations to come. Proper estate planning can ensure that wealth passes on over generations in a way that reflects the testator's wishes for the future. In addition, many people want to make sure that the vast majority of their assets reach their beneficiaries rather than being lost to taxes and fees. There are some major issues that estate owners may consider during the planning process to help them achieve their goals.

Estate planning in complex family situations

Between 1996 and 2018, the number of unmarried couples throughout the country who were cohabiting grew from 6 million to more than 19 million. This is only one example of the rise in nontraditional family structures. People in New York may be more likely to live as part of blended families or to be divorced or single parents than in previous generations. This can mean that much estate planning advice, which is structured for more traditional families, may not apply.

Beneficiary designations important in estate planning

When people in New York decide to plan for their future, they may think about creating wills, trusts and other estate documents. However, there are other concerns to keep in mind when planning an estate. In particular, one of the most important, yet often forgotten, parts of developing an estate plan is ensuring that beneficiary designations are correct and up to date. Many of the largest parts of an estate do not pass through the probate process or are even funneled through a trust. For example, bank accounts, investment accounts, 401(k)s and life insurance policies are often distributed to a specific beneficiary named by the account holder.