Executing an estate over $5.43 million

The administration of a wealthy person's estate in New York is a big undertaking. Executors must be aware of the current estate tax laws, and they must determine which IRS forms they are obligated to complete with the deceased person's final tax filing. Right now, an estate is considered taxable by the federal government if its assets are worth $5.43 million or more. The $5.43 million exclusion amount is indexed Read More

New York neighbors face probate fee hikes of up to 1000 percent

New York residents unhappy with their tax burden may wish to spare a thought for some of their neighbors. Connecticut has raised several state taxes and fees to bridge large budget gaps, and the increases have been implemented retroactively to Jan. 1, 2015. Among the most contentious tax and fee hikes are changes to the probate fee structure that have led to tenfold increases in fees for many estates. While many Read More

Using digital document archives for estate planning

Digital document archives are becoming popular among people in New York who are planning their estates. Sites like Everplans, Principled Heart and AfterSteps provide a platform where people can easily store digital versions of estate planning documents like wills, trusts, powers of attorney and health care directives. Digital archives can also house important financial information and personal assets like photos. Read More

Robin Williams’ family settles property dispute

New York residents have likely heard about the ongoing legal battle between the wife of the late actor Robin Williams and Williams' three adult children from previous marriages. After Williams committed suicide in 2014, his widow claimed that items from the home she shared with him had been taken without her permission. In December, she filed a petition asking the court to exclude the items in the home from the Read More

The responsibilities of an executor named in a will

Naming an executor is one of the most important estate planning decisions that New York residents have to make. When someone is asked to serve as an executor of a testator's will, it is important for the person to understand the responsibilities that they might be taking on. If those who are asked feel that they are too disorganized or ignorant about financial matters, they might want to say no to being an Read More

Houston and Brown families fighting over Bobbi Kristina’s estate

Many New York residents have heard about the ongoing dispute over the estates of Whitney Houston and her daughter Bobbi Kristina. Both the Houston and Brown families are reportedly fighting over what happens to Houston's estate. According to a report, members of Whitney Houston's family are named as the legal inheritors of Bobbi Kristina's wealth; however, reports also note that Bobby Brown's family wants to inherit Read More

The advantages of a revocable trust

New York residents may think they need a will, but they might want to consider setting up a revocable trust as well. A revocable trust has a number of advantages over a will for managing most of an individual's assets. Probate of a will can be expensive and time-consuming, and a revocable trust can prevent that. Furthermore, a co-trustee of a revocable trust can handle the administration if the grantor becomes Read More

Potential consequences for heirs of an intestate individual

Probate courts in New York determine the distribution of assets belonging to people who died without a will, and they are guided by the state law of intestacy. The court will apply by default the basic inheritance rules established by the state. When people prepare an estate plan, avoiding probate is often one of the goals because of the cost, lack of privacy and length of time that the process often entails. In Read More

Non-probate transfer methods in addition to wills

As some New York residents may already know, having a will helps to protect one's family and assures that beneficiaries the decedent chooses receive assets. There are other ways, often used in conjunction with a will, to allocate some assets after death. Learning about specific transfer methods will enable grantors to distribute assets as they see fit without the need for probate. Transfer on death is one way of Read More

Placing limits on beneficiary spending

When New York residents are going through the estate planning process, they often decide to leave money to designated beneficiaries. However, those who are leaving money to future generations may wish to control how that money is spent. For instance, a parent may not want an inheritance used to support a political candidate or cause that he or she disagrees with. Perhaps the best way to restrict how an inheritance Read More