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Estate Planning

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 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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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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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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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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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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