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.
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.
New York residents might know the late Lee Radziwill as a style icon, princess, socialite or the younger sister of Jackie Kennedy. The way she handled her estate could be used as an example for others.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
New York residents should know that probate is a legal process that requires careful attention to detail as well as a strong knowledge of the correct legal documents that have to be filed. When individuals attempt to complete a probate on their own, they may inadvertently make a mistake that can cause a number of costly and time-consuming issues.
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.