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Estate and Business Planning Legal Blog

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Partnership and Shareholder Agreements: An Absolute Necessity



Successful business owners often work long and hard, focusing all of their efforts on building and expanding their businesses.  Often, owners have partners who work together amicably toward the common goal of achieving success. As a result, having a partnership or shareholder agreement in place is usually not a priority. 

The best opportunity for people to negotiate an agreement to provide for business succession is when they are working together in a cooperative fashion.  We have all heard about and seen too many situations where business owners worked together for many years successfully and then an owner becomes disabled, dies, or decides he or she doesn’t wish to work in the business any more.
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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Probating Wills and Administering Estates in Florida and New York


 

It sometimes seems confusing to clients to find out that the probate process (the court process one needs to go through when a person passes away and leaves a will) and the administration process (when one dies without a will) is different in every state. While there are many similarities in the process, some states have more streamlined processes than others.

Surprisingly, New York is one of the easiest states to probate a will and administer an estate, while Florida is one of the most difficult.  If one is a snowbird, spending time in each state, the question becomes, in what state is the will probated or the estate administered?  This is determined by the residency one declares while one is alive.  Having said that, however, caution must be taken when giving information for the death certificate, because the state you put down for residency there will often control where the procedure must occur.
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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Five Things You Should Consider Before Choosing a Law Firm for Your Business


 

Of course, the best way to find a law firm for your business is by referral.  Therefore, one should ask family, friends and business acquaintances for a recommendation.  In the absence of that, business and networking organizations are a good source, along with the internet.  No matter how you get the information you are looking for, before choosing a firm, there are a few important factors to consider.

 1.
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Monday, April 24, 2017

Moving From New York to Florida


Clients frequently decide that they would like to move to the State of Florida and become Florida residents.  The reason for this is usually financial, as Florida does not have an income tax, nor do they have an estate tax.  Unfortunately, the move is often made without careful thought of the consequences of such a move.  If one simply wants to spend a good deal of time in Florida, there is certainly nothing wrong with that.  Becoming a Florida resident, however, is more involved.
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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Medicaid Trusts: The Pros and Cons



Clients are often confused about the differences between irrevocable trusts and revocable living trusts, and the consequences they each have for medicaid planning.  Those who advocate living trusts commonly lead people to believe that these trusts will protect one’s assets in the event long-term health care is needed. While living trusts serve the purpose of avoiding probate, they do not protect your assets.  Quite simply, if your assets are readily available for your own use, which is the primary benefit of a revocable trust, then those assets are also considered available to pay for your health care needs.  The only way to protect assets from long-term health care costs and creditors is to transfer assets to family members or to an irrevocable medicaid trust.
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Sunday, March 26, 2017

How Life Insurance Fits Into One's Estate Plan


 

There are many reasons why one might obtain life insurance and the purchase of such insurance should seriously be considered when doing estate planning. The most common situation where life insurance is necessary is in the case of a couple who has young children.  In that situation, it is common for one or both spouses to obtain term insurance, which is generally not terribly expensive but lasts only for a term of years, to provide the funds necessary to raise the children if something were to happen to one or both parents. While there is no cash value to such policies, the cost is considerably less than whole life  and variable insurance and it covers a temporary need.

Life insurance is also an important component of the estate plan of someone who may have substantial assets but whose assets are not liquid.
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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Elder Law Planning Basics


The terms "elder law" and "elder care" have become popular, catchy phrases people now use, to describe an array of planning techniques that are available to people as they age.  Very basically, elder law planning involves having the proper legal documents, such as a will, health care proxy, living will and durable power of attorney. The purpose of these documents is to protect oneself in the event of disability and death.

In fact, the health care proxy, living will and power of attorney are probably more important to have than a will.  Why is that so?  Because if you become disabled and you do not have the proper documents in place, your family will likely wind up in court, commencing a guardianship proceeding to have you declared incapacitated, and to give them power to make decisions on your behalf.
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Monday, February 27, 2017

Estate Planning for Snow-Birds


It is not uncommon for New Yorkers to spend a few months in Florida or in some other state, especially during the winter season.  These New Yorkers are commonly referred to as “snow-birds” or “dual residents”.  If you are a dual resident, there are some relatively easy steps you should take in order to ensure proper planning for health, disability and estate matters.

A question frequently asked by people who move to other states is whether or not a last will and testament prepared and executed in New York will be valid in those other states.  Generally speaking, the answer is yes, at least in Florida.
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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

How to Minimize Litigation in the Workplace

There are some very simple steps an employer can take in order to  reduce the occurrence of employment-related litigation.  Of course, the employee selection process is the first place to start.  Employers should not make promises to prospective employees (or even current employees) without first giving thought to the consequences of doing so.  Being honest and straightforward and not committing to any future promotions, salary increases and the like, even if done verbally and not in writing, is extremely important. 


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Thursday, January 12, 2017

What to Do When Your Spouse Becomes Ill

Knowing what to do when a loved one becomes ill can alleviate some of the uncertainty and anxiety that normally follows. Oftentimes, people panic and start making changes to their estate plan without first consulting with an experienced attorney or tax advisor. Family, friends, and others who want to help, tend to give well-meaning advice. They may suggest putting assets into the name of the well spouse alone, transferring assets, and/or adding or changing beneficiaries to accounts.  Following such advice without considering the tax and other consequences can have unintended, adverse consequences.  One should not begin to make changes to bank accounts and other investments unless and until all of the tax implications have been examined.


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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Drafting Consulting Agreements

It is common for businesses, especially those just starting out, to hire consultants on  a part-time basis, to provide a range of needed services.  If properly done, these consultants will be treated as independent contractors, and not employees, thus saving the employer from a host of legal obligations that would otherwise arise if one were to hire and/or treat someone as an employee.


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At the Law Office of Angela Siegel, we are pleased to offer legal assistance to clients located in Nassau, Suffolk, Queens, Kings and New York Counties specifically but not limited to Garden City, Jericho, East Meadow, Mineola, Syosset, Roslyn, Cedarhurst, Woodmere, Hicksville, Plainview, Merrick, Wantagh, Bellmore, Rockville Center, West Hempstead, Little Neck, Douglaston, Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Astoria, etc., as well as clients located within the state of Florida.



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