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Trust & Probate Administration Archives

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.

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.

The benefits of a silent trust

New York residents who are beneficiaries of a trust must generally be given information about the trust from the trustee. However, the scope of what must be revealed may be limited in a silent trust. Silent trusts are irrevocable trusts, and they are designed to prevent younger beneficiaries from knowing what is in them. Information about the trust may be withheld from beneficiaries until they reach a certain age or after a certain amount of time has passed.

No estate plan left by Aretha Franklin

New York fans of singer Aretha Franklin might not know that she died without leaving a will or any kind of estate plan. She had four sons, and they have filed as interested parties. Her niece has filed a request to be named executor of the estate.

How to protect assets into old age

According to a survey from Wells Fargo, 20 percent of Americans who are 65 or older become victims of financial abuse. However, only 10 percent of people in that age group think that it can happen to them. Older New York residents may be more vulnerable to such abuse if they lack estate plan documents that can help manage their finances if they are incapacitated.

Why might you need a power of attorney or health care proxy?

It can be difficult to accept that sometimes cognitive ability declines with age. However, this is a reality you may need to face, especially if you have received a diagnosis of an age-related cognitive impairment, and you are concerned about preserving your estate. You and other New York residents will rightfully want to keep unscrupulous people from getting ahold of your funds, both to keep you comfortable in your golden years and for the benefit of your heirs.

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.

Trustee duties under an irrevocable life insurance trust

A New York resident who is appointed trustee of an irrevocable life insurance trust has a number of duties and responsibilities. Above all, a trustee has a fiduciary duty, and this means there is a legal obligation to administer the trust competently for the benefit of the beneficiaries. The trustee must also manage trust investments. This may involve assistance from life insurance producers or from companies that review policies' performances. Other duties including safeguarding original policies, confirming that the ILIT is the policy owner and beneficiary, and making sure communications with insurance companies go to the trustee.

The rise in nursing home control over guardianships

The purpose of a guardianship is to provide someone you trust with the legal authority to take care of your personal and property interests in the event you become incapacitated. Guardianship of the Person includes steps to be taken about non-financial matters, which include medical and end-of-life decisions. However, research shows that of 700 guardianship cases filed in Manhattan over the 10-year period from 2002 to 2012, more than 12 percent were brought by nursing homes. Other petitions came from hospitals and Adult Protective Services, but many people are unaware that such steps can be taken by petitioners other than relatives or friends of the person for whom a guardianship is being sought.