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Estate Planning

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Planning for a Pet


Animals shelters often see beloved pets suddenly homeless because of the death of their owners and failure to plan properly. And while there may be more people willing to rescue a dog, but what about a horse or a lizard?

One way of planning properly for the care of a pet is to leave some designated money for the benefit of a shelter, to be used specifically in the care of your pet. This way, if anyone adopts the pet, the shelter can use the money to reimburse the new owner for the pet’s care. Of course, you should carefully research the shelter and ensure that they agree to this type of a plan.

Another way of doing it is to set up a Trust in your Will, designating both a caregiver and some money to a pet.
Read more . . .


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Estate Planning Tips for same-sex couples


In the United States v. Windsor, the Supreme Court rules that federal government must recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in a state for federal law purposes. Below are some tips in an estate planning concept:

  1. Boomerang assets.

Lots of same-sex couples do not have children. While the couple may want to provide for each other, after the death of the second-to-die spouse, they each may have different dispositive wishes.
Read more . . .


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Are you at risk of getting sued, if you agree to act as a Fiduciary (Executors, Trustees and Agents under Power of Attorney)?


Trust and estate litigation is on the rise. The conflict can arise due to beneficiaries who feel they were entitled to more money or Trustees, who are supposed to act as fiduciaries with care, loyalty and impartiality, but often don’t.

Unfortunately, you cannot plan for every contingency. You hope that the Trustee that you picked will act as a proper fiduciary, will not steal the beneficiary’s money and will act in accordance with the Trust’s provisions. You also hope that beneficiaries will honor the wishes of the Grantor, even when the Trust provides for unequal distributions.


Read more . . .


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Will the 1031 “Like-Kind” Exchange be now eliminated?


Section 1031 of the tax code allows those who sell a real estate property and invest the proceeds in a different real estate property to postpone capital gains taxes. It is a great strategy for investors: with a 1031 exchange, after a sale of a property you can use 100% of the proceeds to buy a new building; without 1031, if you had to pay capital gains taxes, you would only be able to reinvest approximately 65% of the proceeds.

This provision dates back to the 1920s. Yet both Democrats and recently Republicans have talked about eliminating it. The provision is viewed as a loophole, and all loopholes are currently getting reviewed, as part of the overall package of decrease in tax rates.


Read more . . .


Monday, October 2, 2017

Get a FREE online evaluation - what kind of documents you need

Have you always wondered if you need an estate plan? Have you thought of doing it yourself, but were not sure if you are doing it right?

Take this FREE online evaluation and find out!

http://sverdlovlaw.com/index.aspx?TypeContent=CONTACTUS


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Friday, September 29, 2017

Trump just proposed to eliminate the Estate Tax completely. Will it affect you?


Currently, the gift and estate tax threshold is $5.5MM per person ($11MM per married couple). Assets passing at death that are above  that threshold are taxed at 40%. Gifts made during lifetime that are above this threshold are also taxed at 40%. 

Less than 1 out of 550 of people who die have taxable estates.
Read more . . .


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

You have a Trust? When DO beneficiaries find out about money left to them ?


Clients often establish Trusts for the purpose of deferring distributions to beneficiaries. These Trusts are usually established to protect assets from risks such as mismanagement, imprudent spending, creditors and divorce.

But when do Trust beneficiaries have to receive information about the Trust and the assets? This question is different from the one about when the beneficiaries should start receiving trust distributions. A grandfather may establish a Trust with $1 million for the benefit of his two young grandchildren, name his accountant as the Trustee, and provide that grandchildren will receive the money outright once they turn 30. Do the grandchildren have a right to know about this money before they turn 30? 

A parent may not want the child to find out about the money for many different reasons.


Read more . . .


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Most Americans Still Avoid Estate Planning


Based on the most recent survey, 52% of Americans do not have a Will. Usually, not having a Will also means not having a Power of Attorney or a Health Care Proxy.

When I lecture about this issue, I can talk for at least an hour about the need for a Power of Attorney and what happens when people do not have one. Main reasons to get your planning done:

  1. If you do not have a Power of Attorney, in the event of your incapacity, your family is likely to spend over $10,000 on guardianship costs and related legal fees. I’m talking about a $10,000 fee in a GOOD scenario, where everyone in the family is in agreement.
    Read more . . .


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

What is a Public Administrator?

The Public Administrator is one of a chosen group of attorneys in one office per county who the Court often calls upon to administer to non-standard cases.

The Public Administrator generally has the job of handling estates of people who die without a Will and who have no close relatives who are able to administer the estate: If your nearest living relative is a cousin (or more distant) the Public Administrator will need to be placed on notice. In addition, the Public Administrator often replaces initial Executors or Administrators who are unable to qualify or unable to serve.

The Public Administrator’s job is to collect all of the assets of the estate, pay the outstanding bills and distribute the remaining money to the distributees of the deceased. The job of finding the distributees is often the most time-consuming and expensive, as distant relatives may have to be located in multiple countries with the help of genealogists or investigators.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Is an Irrevocable Trust really that Irrevocable?

The word “Irrevocable” usually implies no ability to change. Most people believe that the Trustee is required to adhere to the wishes of the Trust’s creator, even though the times and circumstances have changed. Nonetheless, that is no longer true in the case of New York State.

There are two circumstances where an Irrevocable Trust may be changed or revoked.

The first circumstance exists when the Grantor of the Trust is still alive, wants to make a change and ALL the beneficiaries of the Trust agree with the proposed change.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Will Anyone Respect Your Wishes?

An incredible book that I read in the past year was “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” by Dr. Atul Gawande. The book is a discussion of the state of American medicine as it relates to end-of-life care. Mr. Gawande argues that doctors often cause more suffering to patients by prescribing completely unnecessary procedures at the end of a person’s life.


Read more . . .


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