Estate and Business Planning Legal Blog

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.

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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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Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Secret to Successfully Negotiating a Contract


It is part of the operation of most businesses to become involved in contract negotiation.  Even if you are in a type of business where contracts are not utilized for customers or clients, it is inevitable that when purchasing products or services you will be presented with a written contract. 


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Friday, June 29, 2018

Naming a Trust as the Beneficiary of One's Retirement Accounts


There are many reasons why a client would want to leave their retirement accounts (IRA's, 401k's, TDA's, etc.) in a trust for the benefit of their heirs.  For example, if a beneficiary is under the age of eighteen (18), he/she can not legally inherit.  In addition, if the retirement accounts are sizable, most people properly do not want to leave large sums of monies to a young person.  One should also consider a trust if a beneficiary is disabled, so that the assets are controlled and protected.
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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Reasons for Creating Trusts

Why should I create a trust?

One of the primary services an estate planning attorney provides is assisting clients in creating trusts. While some believe that trusts are only useful for the wealthy, in fact trusts have important functions for anyone who is interested in effectively planning for the future. Working with a competent estate planning attorney who is tuned in to your particular needs and familiar
with the laws of the state (or states) you reside in can make a substantial difference in how efficiently your wishes are carried out and how well your loved ones are provided for.

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Saturday, June 2, 2018

Dissolution of a Partnership: Drafting the Agreement

It is not uncommon for one or more of the partners in a partnership to decide that they no longer want to be involved in the business and, thus, seek the consent of the others to withdraw.  Hopefully, the partners entered into a well drafted partnership agreement at the outset, setting for the procedure to be followed if a partner wishes to withdraw and detailing how the assets of the partnership will be dealt with, what price will be paid, if any, for the partnership interest.

Some of the issues which need to be addressed in an agreement wherein a partner leaves the partnership include:  what price will be paid for that partner's interest, if any, which will likely include the value of inventory, equipment and receivables; how will receivables and payables be treated; how the purchase price will be paid; and what happens with liabilities.

These sound like simple issues, but they can become quite complicated.  Perhaps one of the most contentious issues has to do with liabilities.
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Sunday, May 13, 2018

Writing a Will: Why it is Necessary


The most important reason to have a will prepared is so that the laws of intestacy do not control the disposition of your assets. Put simply, if one dies without a will, the laws of the state one resides in determines who inherits. For example, in New York, if one dies leaving only a spouse, the spouse inherits all.  If one leaves a spouse and children, then the spouse inherits half and the children inherit the other half.  Clearly, one problem with this scheme is that you may not want to leave your assets in the manner set forth by state law.
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Saturday, April 28, 2018

Weighing the Benefits and Dangers of the Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney is a document which gives someone broad powers over your financial affairs.  Especially as one gets older, this document becomes a necessary evil.  Why is it evil?  By its nature, a power of attorney gives control to a person of your choosing to transact business on your behalf.  It gives the power to deposit and withdraw funds, change beneficiaries on ones accounts, and even to liquidate funds.  If one becomes unable to handle his or her own financial affairs, whether it be due to a temporary or permanent physical or mental disability, it is imperative that someone take over this necessary function.
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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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