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Estate Planning

Monday, April 15, 2019

Should I sign a prenup?


Although prenups used to be caricatured as documents only used by extremely wealthy men or women who in their later years married much younger spouses presumed to be “gold diggers.” There was humor associated with the prospect of signing away future wealth when that wealth seemed to be the motivating factor behind the marriage. 

These days, however, when divorce is nearly as common as marriage, and almost 80 percent of divorceé(e)s remarry, prenups are taken far more seriously. Often, both would-be spouses have accumulated wealth that they want to preserve for the children of their first marriages. Also, viewing the statistics, it’s difficult for anyone to deny that any marriage may not last “until death do us part.
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Sunday, April 7, 2019

The Inheritance Rights of A Spouse--Important Facts


 

New York, like all states, provides legal protection for spouses, in terms of inheritance rights.  The provisions largely originated from the problems which occurred when a husband would die, providing the bulk or all of his assets to a female companion, thus leaving his wife and children without support.  Of course, things have changed, and the laws now apply to men and women.  Of course, the purpose of the laws is to make sure that the spouse is provided for financially.

In summary, the law provides that if one dies without a will and leaves a spouse and children, the spouse is entitled to one-half (1/2) of the deceased spouse's assets, while the children are entitled to the remainder.
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Monday, February 25, 2019

Do Snowbirds Pay Taxes Here or There?


For many people it seems that snowbirds lead a charmed life, migrating south to avoid cold New York winters and returning to escape uncomfortable Florida summers so they are always living in a pleasant climate. Even better, by having nests in both states, they always inhabit a cozy home. There are, however, a few possible snags. A major one may be failing to handle taxes properly. If you don’t work with an
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Thursday, February 7, 2019

Avoiding Gift Tax Problems


 

Parents often wish to put their children on their bank accounts and investment accounts for estate and disability planning purposes.  Doing so is fraught with problems, as the child now becomes the legal owner of the account(s).  Often overlooked is that by adding a child or children as joint owners on assets, one is making a taxable gift, which must be reported to the government.  While not likely to trigger an immediate gift tax, unless the amount of the gift exceeds the unified credit for estate and gift taxes, if the amount is over $15,000 (the gift tax exclusion for 2019), a gift tax return is required to be filed and one's lifetime credit for estate/gift taxes is reduced by the amount of the gift. Even changing the ownership of one's life insurance policy, to make one's children the owner, is a gift to the extent of the cash value of the policy.


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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

In Focus: Irrevocable Trusts


Many individuals are aware of the importance of creating a will to ensure that their property is properly managed and distributed after they die.  However, a well-conceived estate plan will also consider other important goals such as asset protection, avoiding probate, and minimizing estate tax consequences. With the advice and guidance an experienced will and trusts attorney, you can achieve these objectives by establishing an irrevocable trust.
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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 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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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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