Estate Planning | Shah & Associates, P.C. Estate Planning & Business Law Blog
Website Home Contact Us Blog Archives Blog Home

Interesting Image
 
 
 

Would you like more information on:

 
 
 
Schedule a Phone Call
to discuss your planning needs!
Click to Schedule an Appointment







Website Home


Topics



Archives


Contact Information

Forsgate Commons
241 Forsgate Drive
Monroe, NJ 08831
PH: (732)521-WILL (9455)
FX: (732)521-1204
Info@LawEsq.net
www.LawEsq.net






Where Have You Stored Your Important Information?

November 21, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

When your loved ones come home to help you deal with a significant medical crisis or even to help you wrap up your estate after you have passed away, you could put them in a very difficult situation by not having any access to these critical financial documents and other materials. estate-planning-NJ-storage

Not knowing where your important information is located or not communicating this to your loved ones can make things much more difficult when they are already coping with grief or an emergency situation that requires their quick action. The tasks can seem insurmountable when trying to help a parent who has recently lost their spouse, if the spouse who passed away was the one primarily involved in financial management. Many people are now confronting the question of where to even begin with handling the growing piles of mail and paperwork and what to do if there is no filing system available. A master document can be helpful for directing people for where to find answers to many different questions. Some of the most common questions asked by loved ones who show up in an emergency include;

  • Where is the last original will and testament located?
  • Were any military discharge or veterans’’ benefits papers filed?
  • Which bills in the pile are outstanding and require payment?
  • Where was the family money invested?
  • Was there a life insurance policy and which company maintained it?

The task of information preparedness might be approached differently by those adult children who have already had to step in and address these concerns on behalf of their loved ones. This can be an important learning opportunity that provides insight about what to do and what not to do. Going through this situation on your own might cause you to reflect about the best way to protect your own interests and to keep documents stored properly to make it easier for your loved ones if they need to step in quickly.

 

What Can You Learn from Stan Lee’s Estate Planning?

November 20, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Stan Lee recently passed away and details show that his tangled estate planning could be a complicated web for heirs to navigate. Unfortunately, far too many celebrity deaths paint a picture of just how devastating it can be when estate planning is not managed appropriately. The co-creator of super heroes, such as Spiderman and Captain America, left behind a huge mess for his prospective heirs despite the fact that he was ill over the last year of his life. 

Stan Lee’s life had unraveled in the last few years before his passing, highlighting the dangers of elder financial abuse. Plenty of scams and unscrupulous people target the elderly, and often, the aging person finds out about it too late. It could even be family members who realize that the assets amassed over a lifetime are now gone thanks to fraud.

Estate planning tools could be used to ward off this possibility, but only when the person takes the time and care to meet with a trusted lawyer.

In other recent events prior to Stan Lee’s passing, he alleged that $850,000 of his money was stolen to purchase a condo. He also alleged that that was part of a greater $1.4 million that went missing from his bank accounts. For most people, estate planning is a relatively straightforward process. It can certainly be emotional, however, to consider your own passing or how to plan for your own incapacitation.

Monitoring and maintaining a plan can become even more complex as an individual ages, especially if that person is also linked to cognitive decline. The creation of documents and the timing surrounding this can have important implications over whether or not the courts view these documents as legally valid. If you want to protect yourself from some of the problems that Stan Lee faced in life, including the possibility of elder abuse, having appropriate powers of attorney can go a long way towards minimizing your concerns.

 

Communication Is Key with Estate Planning- Don’t Forget It!

November 14, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Many families avoid the process of estate planning altogether but even those who take the necessary steps to schedule a consultation with an estate planning attorney can still cause problems for their loved ones in the future due to lack of communication.

It is certainly not easy to confront your own mortality and definitely not any easier to discuss it with your family members. This is particularly true if you don’t intend to pass things on in an equal fashion.

However, an estate planning attorney can help you to avoid many of these difficult challenges and help you to prepare for the communication expectations. Once your children are old enough, you should include them in the planning process because the common mistake of failing to communicate with your children can avoid problems down the road. Once your children have reached a certain age, you can share exactly how much you own, where the assets are located and how you want them dispersed. NJ-estate-planning

There should never be surprises when you pass away, otherwise, this can put your loved ones in the position of dealing with missed planning opportunities.

The support of an experienced estate planning lawyer is instrumental in accomplishing your estate planning goals and giving you the necessary peace of mind to accomplish these with ease. It can be challenging to adapt your estate plan if you don’t have an existing relationship with a trusted lawyer and it can also be hard to figure out how to broach these conversations with your loved ones in a way that does not inflame any further conflict.

Thankfully, lawyers who are familiar with these types of conversations can advise you about the mistakes to avoid and what is truly necessary to share with your loved ones. They can also provide you some insight on various planning tools that can help you to pass on assets if you do not intend to give equal shares of your estate to children. Strategic planning and estate planning tactics used in advance can avoid many problems.

 

Avoid The Most Expensive Estate Planning Mistakes

November 8, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Not only are estate planning mistakes difficult for your loved ones, as they put your family members in a difficult situation after you have passed on, but they can also be unnecessarily expensive. Taking a leadership role with your own estate planning process is one of the only ways to avoid serious estate planning problems that your loved ones will have to cope with after you have passed away. Even a seemingly simple mistake in your estate planning process could have ripple effects that can last well into the next generation. estate-planning-mistakes

The biggest mistake many people make is not having a plan at all. The state then determines where the assets go and no matter how much your family argues that you wanted things a certain way, your wishes will impact the decision of the associated courts. No plan leaves important decisions up to the courts and a group of people who don’t know you and your individual concerns and wishes.

As your family situation becomes more complex, it’s even more important to sit down to avoid expensive estate planning mistakes. A simple will might have been sufficient for you when you first got married but once you have children, you’ll need to accommodate for additional issues such as guardianship. Another example includes the accumulation of wealth which requires a more comprehensive tax strategy.

More money is available for your family when you have contemplated how to pay less in federal estate taxes and there are also complex issues such as generation-skipping transfer taxes to be aware of. Always take a proactive approach because there are many different types of estate planning mistakes that cannot be undone after the fact. One final expensive estate planning mistake is leaving behind too much money to an irresponsible spender. Having unrestricted access to vast quantities of money may not be the right move for a specific person but a spendthrift provision or trust can help to avoid these challenges. Planning techniques can ensure that wealth you have worked so hard to create lasts into future generations.

Don’t Put It Off Until Later with Estate Planning

November 7, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Almost 60% of adults in the United States do not have an estate plan or a basic will and it’s something that many people don’t want to think about. Most common response to putting together an estate plan is, I’ll get to it later, with the assumption that it does not affect you right now. NJ-estate-planning-lawyer

However, it could take weeks, months or even years for estate plan to wind through the complicated probate process, especially if you have not taken any care in your estate planning process altogether.

Since the average funeral cost in the United States is $7000, this can put a sudden and unfortunate financial burden on your loved ones that you never intended to leave behind.

Furthermore, if you don’t have you wishes clearly laid out on paper in your estate plan, this can lead to conflicts within your families. You will need to contact an experienced professional to help you with basic and complicated estate planning.

There are many different assets that could be included in your overall estate and as estate laws are currently changing and tax laws are always shifting, it is important to identify an attorney who is highly knowledgeable about this area of the law.

New concerns emerge in the estate planning realm often, including what to do with digital assets, such as the photos and other memories you have stored online. Failing to include these in your plan can make things even more difficult for your loved ones and can delay the process significantly.

Not having a plan also means that you leave the decisions about what happens to what’s inside your estate up to people who don’t know you at all or might not understand the intentions that you had. If you do not articulate these on paper, your loved ones could be the ones paying the price for this difficult situation. If you are ready to sit down and discuss estate planning options, schedule a consultation today with a knowledgeable attorney.

 

 

Governments Entitled to Significant Portion of Prince’s Estate

November 5, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Have you ever wondered the answer to the question, how much will your family really inherit when you pass away? Prince’s failure to conduct estate planning has landed his estate in the news numerous times and it turns out that the federal government is entitled to as much as 40% of Prince’s estate. Furthermore, the state of Minnesota might be entitled to up to 16%.

Would you prefer that your money go to friends, family members and charities instead of estate taxes being paid to the government? Prince’s case is a perfect example of what not to do and how much of your estate the government can claim if you don’t carry out your own planning. NJ-estate-planning

When Prince originally passed away in 2016, his estate was estimated at around $200 million and he had not taken any steps to protect that from the taxes due to the IRS or Minnesota’s Department of Revenue. Legal fees and costs associated with the years-long battle of fighting out who is entitled to recover benefits under that estate will also diminish the overall value.

So, if the beneficiaries of Prince were planning to divide that money between them, they will find that it’s close to reducing by as much as half. Conducting appropriate estate planning can avoid these problems and enable your loved ones to take faster action if you were to pass away suddenly.

Scheduling a consultation with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney is your first step for determining what to do.

 

Digital Age Estate Planning Must Be More Comprehensive

October 29, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Do you ever think about how many online accounts you have, how many places you have stored your photos or backed up some of your favorite videos?

Do you consider these to be assets? You might have skipped out on the traditional estate planning process because you assume it doesn’t apply to you, but that can be a catastrophic mistake when it comes to your loved ones having to make critical decisions about what to do with your belongings, including your digital ones. 

Digital estate planning is just emerging in the marketplace as an important strategy that considers all of the things that you own based on your computer or in the cloud. You might not assume that these are tangible assets, but they could have tremendous sentimental or even financial value depending on what’s inside. You might have forgotten about your passwords and your internet presence but online companies, including social media companies, are increasingly forced to consider the issues surrounding closing out an estate or who owns what is left behind by your presence. Because of these unique concerns, it’s valuable to have the insight of an estate planning attorney who can help you to craft a holistic estate plan. Your digital estate planning assets might be included separately from your traditional tools, such as a trust or a will, but an inventory of the various passwords and how to access these materials, as well as individual wishes you have about whether or not you want your accounts memorialized or shut down, can help your family members make important considerations during the time period after the loss of a loved one. Schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney today to learn more.

Avoid Family Infighting Over Wills by Using Estate Planning Documentation

October 17, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

The loss of numerous celebrities over the past couple of years has given us important opportunities to think about the value of estate planning overall. You might assume that you are immune from the problems that could be associated with the traditional distribution of an estate because you don’t have assets or wealth of the same size as a celebrity’s. 

However, this could be a big mistake because everyone can benefit from basic estate planning documentation simply if you wish to pass along guardianship of your minor child to someone else or if you wish to limit the number of conflicts that could come forward about your will or lack of will. Rock and roll star Prince and the queen of soul Aretha Franklin died without appropriate estate planning and passing without a will creates significant problems for your heirs.

Yet, according to recent studies completed by AARP, only two out of every five Americans over the age of 45 don’t have a will. If you die without a will, your estate is settled based on the individual state laws that determine who inherits what. This means that you have died intestate and your assets will be passed through intestate succession. The state is up for determining who will be able to receive your real estate, your personal property, and anything else that you own. Probate involves the legal process of transferring your property to rightful heirs and an administrator will need to be appointed by the judge to manage this process. Not only can this be problematic for your loved ones from the perspective of the amount of time that it takes to resolve these issues, but this can be costly and can also lead to fighting and further conflict among your loved ones as they are coping with your loss. A consultation with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney is the first step to figuring out your estate planning goals and means.

Should You Create A Financial Plan for Living Alone Before the Death of a Spouse?

October 8, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

It can come as a significant shock if your beloved spouse passes away before you have had the opportunity to address a solo financial plan, and yet this happens to far too many widows and widowers every single day. Developing a financial plan in advance of the death of a spouse is important for protecting your best interests whenever possible. 

Most people who are married plan for their future with a spouse, not without one. But your decision to plan for a contingency could prove instrumental if something happens to your spouse suddenly.

A recent study, for example, found that more than half of widows did not have a plan for what would happen if either one of the parties to the marriage suddenly passed away. And the majority of retirees who are married share that did not have enough financial preparation to retire on their own if their spouse passed away.

Both members of a couple should consult with an estate planning lawyer to discuss spousal estate plans.

Getting help from a trusted and competent advisor is essential and putting together estate planning documents that address the vast majority of your concerns is important as well. An elder law attorney and an estate planning attorney can tell you more about how the documents you currently have and strategies currently in use, such as the reliance on a trust, can help you to articulate short and long-term plans. You may need to address whether or not you have enough life insurance. It is critical to get the necessary amount of insurance in case of a premature or unexpected death. A financial professional can determine through several different methods, whether or not you have enough life insurance, including an analysis of financial needs, capital retention or human life. The bottom line is that you need to understand what financial resources are available to you and how you may be eligible to tap into these if something were to happen to you or your spouse suddenly. Scheduling a consultation with a knowledgeable elder lawyer is the first step.

Did Aretha Franklin Die Without A Will?

October 2, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

You might not assume that your own estate could qualify as celebrity news after you pass away, but there are key takeaways hidden in the do’s and don’ts of most celebrities. Some purposefully chose not to settle their estates with proper strategies in advance, and plenty of those cases end up being legal battles for many years to come. The more wealth and assets inside the estate, the more important it is to plan.

 

Court filings that were made on August 28th indicated that queen of soul, Aretha Franklin passed away without a will; posing many different questions and concerns over conflict for her family members and would be beneficiaries. Plenty of celebrity passings have indicated estate planning problems or the dangers associated with lack of estate planning entirely. We can learn important lessons from these celebrities and avoid putting family members through challenges when you pass away. estate-planning-NJ

The estate of Aretha Franklin will be left for the courts to sort out in what will most likely be a proceeding held in a very public manner. This follows other celebrities prior to Aretha, such as Amy Winehouse and Prince, whose estate planning nightmares left years of probate administration and related conflicts for their family members. Even for people who have normal sized estates can put their family members in a difficult situation when a loved one passes away without a will.

This causes financial and tax related hassles that could have been avoided. Furthermore, family members who do not agree with a current version of a will or who argue that they should be entitled to more benefits can delay the probate administration proceedings significantly and make things much more difficult for all family members involved by arguing and continuing court proceedings for many years to come.

You can learn from the mistakes of these many celebrities by having a will in place and one that is regularly revisited with the help of an experienced estate planning lawyer. An estate planning lawyer can make things easier for you as well as your loved ones by articulating the plan that addresses your individual concerns and needs.

 

Drawing a Connection Between Dementia and Financial Planning

September 27, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

It can be very difficult to understand the teamwork approach required to protecting yourself in the age of dementia. The very concept of financial or estate planning around dementia is a very complex matter since the development of the disease can vary from one patient to another. The way that the disease develops inside a patient’s body can be subtle or gradual and it can even develop abruptly in one person whereas slowly in another.

The symptoms of dementia and the diagnosis of dementia can leave loved ones feeling confused or even hopeless and the person who has been diagnosed with the condition may not realize the many ways in which his or her life is about to change.

Coping with these many mental and physical alterations mean that more mundane concerns like financial planning can be completely ignored. There are some important steps to take when you believe that dementia could be a risk. Financial professionals, designated decision makers, physicians, caregivers and elder care specialists can all provide some insight about how the person’s life might change in light of a dementia diagnosis. Since it can be impossible to understand just how quickly a dementia diagnosis can develop into a serious condition, you need to be prepared by considering the possibility early on when you notice the potential signs of dementia. estate-planning-dementia-planning

The sooner that you can consult with your physician and attorney regarding estate plans and necessary documents to have in place, the easier it will be to cope with an already difficult situation. If you do not currently have an estate plan but recognize the potential for a sudden incapacitating event or the diagnosis of an issue tied to cognitive decline like dementia, you need to take action sooner rather than later to protect yourself.

The support provided by an experienced estate planning or elder law lawyer can help to clarify many of the different issues you might not even have considered prior to speaking to a professional. Elder and estate planning lawyers who’ve worked with patients in this situation before would be familiar with many of the common obstacles, concerns and questions that you might bring to the table when trying to plan. Consulting with an attorney as soon as possible after receiving the diagnosis is instrumental, particularly if the disease were to develop rapidly.

 

Make a Plan to Manage Your Loved One’s Digital Estate

September 18, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Within an estate, some of the most important assets you want to list might be physical. But they also could be harder to tap into, especially if those assets are digital in nature.

Think about your own digital presence- how many accounts do you have online, and how many of these have personal or sentimental personal information stored there? Do you have a way for your personal representative or executor to get access to these materials, and quickly? If not, you need to consider incorporating the digital aspects of your estate in your overall planning process.

More estate planning lawyers are including digital assets, passwords, and instructions in overall estate plans. These help to ensure your appointed persons can take action and quickly if something were to happen to you. Preserving or memorializing your digital accounts might be very important to you.

The process of closing out someone’s estate can be overwhelming or even confusing if you’re not fully prepared but digital assets can further complicate this situation. The emotional and taxing process of settling a deceased family member’s estate is already difficult in and of itself. Visiting probate court, sorting through personal possessions, distributing assets, and notifying agencies are just a handful of the tasks that must be completed. However, you must now also consider what to do with a person’s digital estate as far as determining which personal memories and photos to keep and how to store critical financial information. Some people who have already gone through the step of establishing a digital will can make this process much easier for an executor.

Social Media Networking Global Communications Connection Concept

However, far too many people who pass away do not have a digital will established already. Email providers and social media companies may have their own means of assisting an executor to settle someone’s digital estate. Examples of companies that have done this already include Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Yahoo.

Make sure that you keep a recorded copy of what you wish to do with your digital assets and the various storage information necessary for an executor to tap into this quickly. In the event of an emergency situation, such as an unexpected loss of a loved one, being able to find these critical documents can make this difficult process that much easier. The support of an experienced estate planning attorney is strongly recommended to verify that you’ve considered all critical issues in closing out a loved one’s estate.

 

Aretha Franklin’s Death Highlights Estate Planning Concerns

September 12, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Every time that a celebrity passes away, it provides an important opportunity to understand their estate planning dos and don’ts. All too often, even those celebrities who have access to the most professional resources and could certainly benefit from the tax opportunities associated with estate planning, far too many of these people make mistakes that leave their loved ones behind to suffer the consequences. 

When Aretha Franklin passed away in August from advanced pancreatic cancer, it appears that she left no trust or will, despite the fact that the estimated value of her estate is around $80 million, and this includes the rights to several of the songs that became famous under her name. Her four sons have listed themselves as interested parties associated with the estate, but one of those sons indicated that the decedent passed away without a will. The estate’s personal representative might be Franklin’s niece and more information is likely to emerge regarding her estate planning or lack thereof it. The entertainment lawyer working for Franklin said that for years, he had tried to get her to put together a trust, since it would have kept matters of her estate private and kept the family out of probate. Furthermore, he said that it would have helped to expedite things if she were to suddenly pass away and the lack of a will or trust can lead to a much higher chance of contest and disputes surrounding estate planning. Franklin was known for being extremely private, which makes the fact that she did not engage in traditional estate planning processes that much more confusing and unexpected.      

How Long Does It Take for Your Estate to Be Settled?

August 29, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Whether you’re serving as an estate administrator or thinking about appointing a person just to serve in this role, you should be familiar with the fact that every estate is unique, and it can take various amounts of time in order to settle an estate. The more work you do in advance by hiring an experienced estate planning attorney can greatly help your loved ones, as well as the person appointed to serve in the role of personal representative. The complexity of your estate will also dictate how quickly it can be effectively settled. It does not take long to settle simple estates.

However, if it’s beyond more than just a 401(k) and a house that is being given to family members, you need to be prepared by having estate planning tools and strategies like a living trust. The first steps involved in probate administration are to get the will admitted as the last will of the decedent and having the executor personal representative be appointed by the surrogate.

Image of a business work place with papers on the table

This usually does not require an appearance in front of a judge so long as the original will has been submitted, is shown to be valid and there are no disputes like a will contest. The proposed executor will then visit the county surrogate’s office and prepare the necessary paperwork. These usually are ready in less than a week. However, there can be complicating factors if it is difficult for the executor to gather the necessary materials.

Some assets will not be processed through the probate process to begin with, such as retirement accounts and life insurance policies. This is because beneficiary forms are used by these individual companies for the person to fill out and have passed on directly to the beneficiaries. However, other assets need to be included in an inventory and also processed in relationship to claims that have to do with creditors or taxes. The estate administrator has to process all of this material before the assets can be distributed to the relevant beneficiaries of the estate.

If you have questions about the process of probate administration and how estate planning tools and strategies such as living trusts can be used to help keep many of your assets outside of probate, you need the support of an experienced estate planning lawyer from beginning to end.

Use A Solid Foundation for Your Estate Plan

August 15, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Teamwork is necessary for the comprehensive estate plan that will accomplish the vast majority of your goals. If you don’t have appropriate estate planning tools in place, your loved ones could be the ones to deal with the consequences. Work with a team of professionals who understand how your estate can be affected by your investments, your taxes, and your retirement income plan.

Business – meeting in an office, lawyers or attorneys discussing a document or contract agreement

This gives you peace of mind that your estate plan is well thought out and all-encompassing. There are multiple steps that you should consider when putting together a thorough estate plan. These include:

  • Looking at your existing will and trusts to determine whether these need to be updated.
  • Putting together a balance sheet of all of your liabilities and assets.
  • Collecting any personal data about you, your family and your personal belongings.
  • Evaluating all estate tax options.
  • Determining the best way to distribute benefits inside your retirement plans.
  • Determining what liquid assets you have that could meet possible estate taxes and expenses.
  • Computing liabilities related to asset protection, gifts, income tax liabilities and estate tax liabilities.
  • Determine the best method to get rid of your share of community property.
  • Thinking about things like the unlimited marital deductions.

These tasks are just some of the most basic and instrumental elements of comprehensive estate planning and of course, your experience will vary based on your individual goals, the structure of your family, and other critical issues linked to the estate planning process. Make sure that you consult with an attorney who is committed to applying your unique situations into your estate planning documentation.

All the right paperwork can be gathered, organized, and reviewed on a regular basis by a lawyer. Remember that as your life circumstances change, so too should your estate plan. New tax laws, marriages, divorces, children, or grandchildren can all prompt you to rethink your existing strategies.

Art Collecting and Estate Planning 101

August 9, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

For those art collectors thinking about passing on their most valuable collection to others when they pass away, valuation and organization of this collection is strongly recommended. One way to pass on artwork is extremely risky. This refers to the matter of simply putting post-it notes on the artwork on the wall to explain who gets what. This approach, however, could represent that a significant portion of the value of the estate goes towards estate taxes. 

Estate taxes might not be an issue for many since the federal estate tax and gift tax exemption is $11.89 million per person. However, if an art collector accumulated a great deal of artwork, ignoring the overall value could cause problems later if it is not appropriately reported. You could pass on penalties, tax fraud, unexpected estate taxes and fines to the person who receives the art, in addition to prolonged IRS proceedings. Since the statute of limitations for tax fraud is limitless, you need to understand the possible complications well in advance. Even if artwork comes in at a value well below the estate tax exemption amount, clarity and organization regarding the disposition in the value of the individual artwork plays an important role in keeping the peace among your beneficiaries. The first step in this process is to make an inventory. List out each piece of art and its recommended value. Hire an art appraiser who has extensive experience in the field if you want to verify that the information is correct. It is not a good idea to attempt to ballpark the value of art. Rather it is much more effective to use an actual art appraiser and keep documentation from this process.

Any large items or special collections in your estate deserve extra attention. If you don’t put in the effort for your beneficiaries on these items, the problems all fall to your loved ones. You might be doing unnecessary harm or causing confusion that can be eliminated with just a few meetings with your estate planning lawyer. If you’re not yet sure that what you have qualifies as a collection, consider carrying out the valuation process and talking to your lawyer.

 

Don’t Make Estate Planning A Legal Maze

August 6, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Does your estate planning need to be difficult? It doesn’t, but that’s one of the main reasons why people put it off. You deserve to have an estate planning lawyer who can help you with understanding each step and keeping you informed as your life and planning needs change.

There are many different complications to having an estate plan, but thankfully, working directly with an estate planning attorney can help minimize the challenges and confusion you experience. Health care and estate plans seem something like a legal maze.

This can become even more difficult if you have existing family drama. There can be feelings of anger, mistrust, shame, and confusion, that come with concerns related to health issues, the aftermath of a loved one’s death or finances. Having your affairs in order in case something catastrophic happens, including the possibility of developing a disabling illness or a condition, is good no matter what your age.

A woman wearing a dress trying to make her way through a large maze.

Many people come to schedule a consultation with an estate planning attorney when they are in their 50s through their 70s, when children have moved out of the house, and when mortality concerns are at the forefront. The primary reason for doing this at that point in time is because many people aren’t comfortable discussing mortality, but furthermore, don’t realize that they could have benefited from estate planning all along.

Older adults have unique issues as it relates to estate planning, including guardianship, probate asset protection planning, and dealing with Medicaid. However, estate planning for blended families can be notoriously complex and is one common way in which many people experience pitfalls in the estate planning process and discover it too late after an issue has emerged.

Late in life marriages also require estate planning help. If one partner brings a significant amount of wealth into the marriage but the other party has few assets, this could be problematic if the party with fewer assets ultimately requires expensive long-term care. Since Medicaid will evaluate all of the couple’s assets in determining whether or not that party qualifies for assistance, both individuals might have to use their own personal assets in order to pay for the health care cost. Scheduling a consultation with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney can help you avoid many issues.

 

Having the Difficult Financial Discussion with Your Parents

August 1, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Adult children might want to shy away from having a conversation about finances with their parents, but plenty of research shows there are negative side effects of not having this conversation at all. Approximately one-third of parents over the age of 60, for example, say that they have never discussed their needs for later in life with their family, including beneficiaries, inheritance plans, critical documents or designated representatives. Adult children often worry that these conversations will lead to conflict or make it seem like they are only after their parents’ money or are curious about matters that the parents might consider personal. Starting with one conversation is the best way to approach financial and estate planning. Having the talk about finances is helpful for avoiding elder abuse as well as protecting your adult parents from scams. NJ estate planning

According to research conducted by True Link Financial, elder abuse and scams contribute to the loss of more than $36 billion every single year. The right conversations about finances with your loved ones verify that an appropriate response plan is in place in the event that someone suddenly becomes disabled and is unable to make decisions for themselves. Furthermore, you will understand the signs of a scam or elder abuse so that you can take action quickly against the person who might be trying to take advantage of your loved ones.

Carving out time for a family meeting when all children are present is the right way to approach this process and begin with the basics, as launching into advanced estate and financial planning considerations can be difficult. Look at discussions from a group perspective about the end of life goals you might be considering and asking parents about theirs.

While it might seem uncomfortable, broaching serious topics is necessary, and always try to leave any judgment you have at the door because it is already difficult for your loved ones to have these conversations, to begin with. When you pull yourself out of the process and instead allow your loved ones to open up at their own pace, you will find that it is much easier to have these conversations and to understand your parent’s goals.

 

Routine Estate Planning Check-Ups Should Happen Regardless of The Political Climate

July 26, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

People are always looking for good reasons to put off the process of estate planning, but one of these shouldn’t be the current political climate and the fact that it seems to alter and change relatively quickly. While it’s certainly true that you need to be informed about estate planning and tax planning issues, largely because of the fact that the political climate is constantly updating, routine estate planning check-ups should occur regardless.

Letting your estate planning documents lapse in terms of their accuracy could mean big consequences for you if you were to become incapacitated or challenges for your family members if you were to pass away suddenly. 

It is important to always update wills and health care documents specifically. The individuals named in these documents may no longer be accurate if details in your life have changed. Physicians, such as a health care agent, guardian for the minor children, power of attorney, trustees on the testament to your irrevocable trust, trust protectors or trustee appointers should all be carefully considered and evaluated at least on an annual basis.

If your relationship has changed with any of the people named, if your life situation has changed, if the life situation of any of those people has changed such that they would no longer be available, interested or capable of carrying out the roles or if all of the people that are mentioned are not geographically appropriate, these issues should be used to update your estate planning materials. Furthermore, you will need to look into issues such as whether or not the amounts left to each beneficiary are still appropriate, how your relationship with each beneficiary has unfolded or needs to be updated and are any of the beneficiaries at risk when it comes to inheriting assets. When you account for all of these issues on an annual basis, you can be sure that your estate planning includes many of the most common issues that people overlook and issues that expose them and their family members to difficulties.

Anthony Bourdain’s Will Could Be Open to Legal Dispute

July 18, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

A trust was initially created for the daughter of the celebrity chef who recently passed away. However, if the divorce wasn’t finalized, the ex-wife may be eligible to obtain one third of the estate. Details from his will reveal that his estate may be not have been as large as many people expected.

Documents were filed recently with Manhattan’s Surrogate Court, estimating that the estate was worth approximately $1.21 million. Some people estimated that he was worth as much as $16 million.

The 11-year-old daughter of Anthony Bourdain was listed as the primary beneficiary and the trust established will distribute assets to her when she is 25 and 30 years old and she will then be able to act as the balancer when she turns 35. Since Anthony Bourdain’s daughter is still a minor, a guardian will be selected by the court to ensure that the inheritance is safeguarded. Trusts that pay out over a period of time are extremely popular for young beneficiaries to ensure that they do not face the challenges of getting a big inheritance all at once. 

A beneficiary can benefit from the assets that are inside over the long run and this information can be especially helpful and valuable for someone who is thinking about drafting a trust.

A will can be contested if it appears to have been procured through undue influence or if the person signing it was not capable of understanding the act or the will itself, among other reasons.

Although Anthony Bourdain’s will might become subject to passing up majority of the assets inside to his wife from whom he was separated, this is an important lesson for people to sit down with their experienced estate planning attorney to verify that any separated spouses are excluded from these documents and that legal details have been addressed.

 

Older Posts »