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Estate and Business Planning Legal Blog

Thursday, December 13, 2018

How Secrets Can Affect Estate Planning


Estate planning is, especially for those with substantial assets, a complicated process. For this reason, it’s important to have a well-schooled, highly capable estate planning attorney to guide you through. Some of the journeys are exciting -- preparing for a joyful retirement, looking forward to grandchildren or great-grandchildren, imagining the good that can be accomplished when you donate to favorite charities and the pleasures your wealth will bring to future generations of your family.
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Saturday, December 8, 2018

The Truth About Probate


The mere mention of the word “probate” usually conjures up visions of extensive delays and enormous expense in settling the estate of a deceased person.  Seminars promoting living trusts and articles and books written about them are persuasive, and they promote the misconception that probate is an evil to be avoided.  

The truth is that the process of probating a will is quite simple, at least if the decedent is a resident of New York and his or her next of kin are closer than cousins.  It involves the preparation and filing with the Surrogates Court of a probate petition and other documents which are typically prepared by an attorney. While in the past attorneys would charge fees for their services based on a percentage of the value of the estate, most attorneys today properly charge by the hour, based on the amount of work involved.
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Saturday, November 24, 2018

Using the Limited Liability Company for Real Estate Ownership


 

When a client owns real estate, whether it be commercial or residential, held for investment and/or for income producing purposes, it is critical that the owner be cognizant of the liability issues involved.  Clearly, if a tenant or the tenant's employees, customers or guests are injured on the premises, the injured party will not only sue the tenant but chances are good that he/she will also sue the owner of the property. While it is imperative that both tenants and landlords have sufficient liability insurance policies in place, it all also makes a great deal of sense to further protect oneself.

If an individual owner of real property is sued, the owner's personal assets are at risk.  The relatively simple way to avoid this is to have the property owned by a corporate entity.
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Saturday, November 10, 2018

Protecting Your Assets From Scams


We are all interested in protecting our assets, doing our best, hopefully with the help of an asset protection attorney, to avoid excessive taxation and predatory lenders. During these days of malevolent use of elaborate schemes and sophisticated technology, we should all also be aware of protecting our accumulated worth from scam artists. Those who try to fleece us are happy to use our fear of being defrauded against us. In the guise of helping us protect our assets, they manage to separate us from them. Many such scams not only leave victims with fewer assets, but with serious problems with the IRS that may lead to penalties, fines, and even jail time.
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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

When Estate Planning Is the Last Thing on Your Mind


When you are going through a major life event in your family -- the birth or adoption of a child, marriage, divorce, remarriage, moving, buying or selling property, inheriting or losing a large amount of money, serious illness or injury, the death of a loved one -- you are not likely to be thinking about your estate plan. During such times, emotions run high and priorities are in the immediate present, not the future. Nonetheless, the life-altering events mentioned all necessitate reviewing your relevant documents with an accomplished estate planning attorney.
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Friday, October 19, 2018

Tax Considerations in Planning A Move From New York to Florida or to Any Other State


 

Clients often move, especially as they age and desire to be in warm client.  Moving can be an extremely pleasant experience, but there are certain legal and tax considerations that must be attended to.

Perhaps the most important item to consider, when moving out of New York, is the capital gains tax consequences of selling your home here or keeping it.  The tax laws provide that everyone has a $250,000 capital gains tax exclusion for the sale of their primary residence.  For a couple, the exclusion if $500,000.


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Monday, October 1, 2018

Planning for Incapacity on Long Island or in Florida


What will happen if I can’t take care of my family or myself?

Although most of us would prefer to die peacefully in our sleep after a day of pleasurable activity, the majority of Americans (63 percent) die in hospitals and another 17 percent die in other institutional settings, such as nursing homes, having been incapacitated for some period of time. Unwillingness to face and prepare for uncomfortable possibilities puts us at risk of having decisions made about our healthcare, property, heirs, and finances without our personal input. As a matter of fact, 20 to 30 percent will die without having an advance directive, such as a living will, in place, and most will only be referred to hospice or palliative care too late to reap its benefits.

For
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Saturday, September 15, 2018

Important Things You Should Know About Transfer On Death and In Trust For Accounts

It has become quite common for clients to list beneficiaries on their brokerage and investments accounts, regardless of whether or not they are retirement accounts. The designation is commonly referred to as a TOD, or transfer on death. With savings, checking and money market accounts held with banks and credit unions, one is also permitted to list beneficiaries, with those usually referred to as “in trust for” accounts.  

Bankers, investment advisors and others actively encourage customers to make these designations.  In some cases they absolutely insist on it and/or they scare their clients into doing so, stating that the probate process is terribly long, expensive, and must be avoided.
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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Common Estate Planning Mistakes

Estate planning is a complex issue, not only legally and financially, but emotionally. Although planning for your retirement may be fun, planning for your possible incapacity and inevitable death can be daunting. Also, it is difficult to be completely rational about such emotionally laden matters.


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Saturday, August 4, 2018

Probate in Florida: Is it Really That Bad?

Most Floridians have attended, at some point during their Florida residency, one or more seminars given by attorneys, discussing the need to avoid probate in Florida and instead create a revocable living trust.  For the most part, the attorneys are correct.  In general, it is highly recommended that if you are a Florida resident, that you create a revocable living trust in order to avoid probate.  

One of the problems with the aforementioned advice is that while clients create these trusts, they often fail to transfer all of their assets into the trust.  Sometimes, they create the trust and never fund it at all, thus necessitating probate.


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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Purpose of Special Needs Trusts: Why Would I Want to Establish a Special Needs Trust?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly one in five people have special needs which means that a large number of families have a member in this category: child, adolescent, young or middle-aged adult, or elderly person. For special needs individuals who are unable to work or support themselves, the government provides disability income in the form of Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The primary difference between the two is that SSDI is available to workers who become disabled after accumulating enough work credits to qualify for the assistance.


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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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