A Guide to The Businesses Succession Process

The business succession process is relatively complicated, and apart from handing off the business to a new owner, there are various other aspects to consider. You will have to look into all of the assets, liabilities that apply for the move, ensuring that all the wealth you’ve amassed stays in the loop. Any carelessness could cost you a lot in the long run. Here’s what you need to work on: Continue reading “A Guide to The Businesses Succession Process”

5 Considerations to Make During Estate Planning

writing down a checklist on his notepad

Estate planning involves designating individuals who will be passed down your assets and who will handle your asset related responsibilities. Continue reading “5 Considerations to Make During Estate Planning”

4 Misconceptions Regarding Divorce

two engagement rings

You’re having major arguments with your spouse and have tried every possible solution to work it out. You’ve even gone for therapy, but nothing seems to help. You and your partner decide that it’s time to part ways.

Divorce is a sad but unfortunate solution to garner peace of mind and mental stability. Indeed, divorce rates have been increasing in the United States. But not many people are aware of the legal technicalities involved in the process to securing their rights.

Your Ex Will Be Out of Your Life for Good

This myth is a prevalent one among couples going for divorce. Most go into this process thinking they will never have to see their ex again. We’re here to break it to you; you’ll be seeing more of them than both of you will like, and that’s alright.

Divorce is more like the closure you both need to get through everything that happened between you. There will be countless discussions and documents to review and sign. Not to forget, both of you will have to be present at multiple hearings.

illustration of a torn family picture

You Can’t Seek a Divorce if Your Spouse Doesn’t Sign

This myth stems from T.V. shows and movies where it is shown that if your ex does not sign the papers, you can’t legally part ways. This is not true at all. Especially in New York, your spouse does not need to sign any documents for you to seek a divorce from them.

The legal requirements for divorce in New York include proof of residency based in New York and divorce grounds.

Divorce Is a Legal War

Divorce does not always have to be a legal battle. Sometimes, it can simply be an amicable solution between two parties. Going into a divorce with a civil outlook can increase the chances of reaching a mutually beneficial solution.

You Don’t Need a Lawyer to Get Through Divorce

This isn’t a misconception, but it can be recommended for those looking to reach a divorce settlement quickly and efficiently. Divorces can become long-drawn-out, with proceedings going on until the end of time. When you hire a divorce lawyer to assist you, it can have multiple benefits, such as a likely chance of mediation or reaching a negotiation.

If you’re looking to hire a Divorce Attorney Brooklyn, Divorce Attorney Queens, or even New York, we can help.

At Ledwidge & Associates, P.C., we are a law firm with the skills and knowledge base to guide you through this difficult time. Our expert lawyers can help alleviate the stress by efficiently handling the process. Our services include  estate planning, family law, litigation law, real property law, and many more. Get in touch with us to book a consultation today.

Administrator Removal: How to Do It the Legal Way

Very often, it happens that the beneficiaries aren’t satisfied with an administrator. Whether they aren’t happy with how they handle the probate process or how they breach their fiduciary duties, this can become a ground for removing an administrator.

Law books next to a gavel and a sounding block

But do beneficiaries have the right to challenge the administrator’s actions in court? Can heirs request the removal or replacement of an administrator?

This blog gives you an insight into whether beneficiaries can legally remove a personal representative or not and how they can go about this legal process.

Beneficiaries Right to Administrator Removal

While the deceased person or the court might have nominated an executor or administrator, the beneficiaries do have the right to request their removal/replacement. The beneficiaries need to sign a petition, asking the court to review and replace the administrator or executor’s appointment.

The court itself has the power to analyze the administrator’s performance and replace them if the need arises.

The Need for a Valid Reason

While the beneficiaries have the right to call for the removal of an administrator, they need a valid reason for this petition. Beneficiaries are required by law to submit documents and evidence with regards to the administrator’s misconduct. Beneficiaries can submit this petition on the following grounds:

  • Disputes with beneficiaries
  • Disputes with co-executors
  • Misconduct
  • Breaching fiduciary duties
  • Mismanagement of estate
  • Using estate funds for personal interests
  • Not complying with the court’s orders

The heirs or the beneficiaries should provide strong evidence to support their petition. Moreover, in some cases, they can also submit a petition for a new administrator’s appointment.

A courthouse building with pillars

Once the petition has been submitted along with the required evidence, the court reviews the request. If the jury finds the executor or the administrator guilty of misconduct or having disputes with heirs or other executors, they can replace the personal representatives. The court may suspend them from their fiduciary duties and issue a citation for a new administrator’s appointment.

A probate lawyer can streamline the probate process for you. At Ledwidge & Associate, P.C., we have some of the most competent lawyers in Queens and Brooklyn, New York. Whether you want to hire a probate attorney Queens and probate attorney Brooklyn or need to get in touch with a litigation attorney, our lawyers will be your best bet! We have years of experience in dealing with legal cases and coming up with practical solutions that are in line with the state’s laws.

Give us a call at 347-395-4799 to discuss and solve your legal affairs.

The Premarital Checklist Before a Prenup

Most couples make the mistake of either not going for a prenup at all or miss out on details on paper that they regret not having discussed before. Time changes things and differences may arise, or there could be conflicts that are better off being ironed out beforehand. Here are some of the most important discussions and questions to be put forward when drafting a prenuptial agreement:

A couple holding hands.

Premarital Assets and Debts

As the name suggests, this includes any assets that you’ve acquired before getting married. It is valid for a wide range of items, including jewelry, property and savings that may in any of your accounts. A prenup requires you to fully and fairly disclose your assets as well as any debts you may owe.

There are considerations, such as the status of the property. Separate property can become a joint property or remain that way. In the unfortunate event of a divorce, how will you split up these assets? If premarital debts are paid by one spouse, will it be a gift or can it be reimbursed?

Marital Property and Management of Assets

Once you’re married, the two of you will acquire income and assets separately later on. There’s a series of questions that a family lawyer will ask you. How will all of it be divided? What arrangement will you use and will it be split among the two of you?

You will also have to decide who will be handling the finances and making calls on the purchases. The one who will be paying the bills, your individual goals for the long-term regarding finances. Will your bank accounts be separate or jointly owned as well?

Wedding rings inside a book.

Career

A big mistake that couples make is not asking questions regarding their career decisions. It has to be on paper if both of you will be working, what kind of incomes do you expect and if there are any plans to continue working after you have children. These can often require a family to move from one area to another to be closer to the workplace, which also is an essential point.

All of it seems trivial but can affect the state of your marriage moving forward.

Alimony

In the event of a divorce, the duration and limit of the spousal support has to be decided beforehand. You may also consider some stipulations beyond those that are stated by the area you’re residing in as it seems feasible. A capable family law attorney will help sort these discussions out.

Acquiring Legal Services

Because of the excruciating details that have to be considered for marriage, couples tend to do best when they work with an experienced family lawyer that can sort out prenuptial agreements thoroughly. At Ledwidge & Associates, we help couples sort out the details before they make any vows.

Reach out to us today if you seek a Family Law Services Queens and Family Law Services Brooklyn, divorce or litigation lawyer.

What Happens To Your Estate If You Die Without a Will

When an individual passes away without having a valid will in place, they’re deemed by the law to have died interstate—which means that the administration and distribution of their estate will be done in accordance with the legislation.

drafting a will

On the other hand, when you have a will, you can dictate the distribution of your estate and appoint an executor of choice who ensures your wishes are carried out.

Who Administers Your Estate When You Die Without A Will?

When an individual passes away interstate, and leave behind an estate that needs an administrator, an eligible person must has to apply with the Court for Letters of Administration. Whoever’s granted the Letters of Administration becomes the estate’s legal representative.

The following is a list of people who’re deemed eligible by the court to be an estate’s administrators:

  • The spouse of the deceased
  • The children of the deceased
  • The grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the deceased
  • The parent or parents of the deceased
  • The deceased’s siblings
  • The grandparent or grandparents of the deceased
  • The decease’s aunts and uncles
  • The first cousins of the deceased
  • Anyone else appointed by the court

When applying to become an estate’s administrator, each individual who has priority over the applicant has to be “cleared of the record.” For instance, if you’re the son/daughter of the deceased who’s applied for the letters of administration, the court will first ensure that the deceased didn’t have a spouse at the time of death.

If You Pass Away Without a Valid Will, Who Will Your Estate Go To?

The distribution of an interstate estate primarily depends upon the deceased’s circumstances. According to the Succession Act (Qld) of 1981, the estate of a deceased person will be bequeathed to their closest next of kin, with the spouse and the children getting first priority. If the deceased was married, but childless, then the spouse will inherit the entire estate.

If the deceased was married with children, then:

  • If the estate’s worth is less than $150,000, then the spouse will inherit the entire estate
  • If the estate’s worth exceeds $150,000 (excluding household goods), the spouse will inherit the $150,000 plus all the household goods, and 50% of the rest of the estate (if there’s one child), and 33% of the rest of the estate (if there are more than two children).

Ledwidge & Associates, P.C., is a leading legal firm that assists clients across New York with estate planning, Family Law Services Brooklyn and Family Law Attorney Queens, divorce, and probate law. If you require our services, get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation.

3 Common Mistakes Made by Executors

Being an executor is not as easy a role as one might assume. An executor has to deal with the loss of a loved one while simultaneously trying to get their will implemented and their estate distributed. The whole process involves a lot of legal leg work and documentation; so, it’s actually quite easy to make mistakes along the way.

Seeing as when you become an executor you gain legal authority to finalise a person’s affairs, it would be best to get into the role after some preparation. To help you along, we’re going to go through some of the more common mistakes that executors make.

Hopefully, this can save you some time and minimize the stress that comes with the job.

A Pile of Folders with Paperwork

Properly Probating the Will

It may be surprising, but some of the bigger mistakes are made right at the beginning.

A lot of people who might not know about court proceedings will try and turn toward a legal professional, but it’s important to know who’s help you should be enlisting. You might think the best course of action is to turn to an estate law attorney, but that’s not the correct call. You should enlist the help of a probate attorney instead.

Wills need to be proved in probate court, and while an estate attorney may be better at handling distributions of the property, they aren’t the best people to take to court to get the will testified. The right attorney can prepare the will and all supporting documents to ensure the next phase can begin smoothly.

Making Timely Payments

This mistake may come as a surprise to a lot of people, but it’s entirely possible to pay the bills too quickly. Executors usually begin getting invoices and bills on behalf of the deceased, and many would think the best course of action is to begin paying them immediately.

Instead, you should first take stock of all the bills and sort them by priority. Money owed to government bodies and tax departments should be the first ones paid off, and then you should move to lower-level bills for services and such.

Executors can be held legally responsible for being unable to make such payments on the deceased behalf. Getting rid of bigger liabilities first means you will not run out of money once the IRS comes calling.

A Man signs legal documents with a pen

Moving the Process Along

Trying to get through with your executor responsibilities as soon as possible is probably the wrong way to do things. The process of distributing an estate is quite lengthy and will take you the better part of 6 to 9 months to complete properly. Trying to rush things often results in legal liabilities that the executor can actually be sued for.

It’s ideal to take things slowly and plan a list of what needs to be done in a professional manner. If you require a specialist estate law attorney Brooklyn and estate law attorney Queens or a probate attorney in Queens, you can get in touch with us.

Debt and Probate: What You Need to Know

A sample of last will and testament with a section about debt payment.

Most people have their legacies, properties, and assets on their minds when drafting their Testament and Last Will. But several other things must be considered and specified in an estate plan.

For example, specifying what happens to your outstanding debts or those of a loved one after they pass away is crucial. If you owed a loan or debt in your lifetime, your family will be responsible for paying for it, depending on your estate’s size and value and the type of the loan.

Is it important to notify creditors?

After a person passes away, their estate executor is responsible for informing the person or institution that provided the debt. While the trust doesn’t mandate that the executors notify the creditors of the debtor’s passing away, doing so will allow the creditors to come forward within a shorter period, and the payment process will be smoother. Once the creditors are notified, they are given a specified period to claim their takings against the estate. Each creditor will be paid for their part from the estate’s proceeds.

If the deceased person didn’t create an estate plan during their lifetime, the probate court then assigns an administrator, who is typically from the immediate family or a close relative. Like a trustee or an executor, an administrator appointed by the court is also authorized to pay the deceased person’s debts from the estate’s takings.

What if two persons are responsible for debt?

A sample of last will and testament with a section about debt payment.

In most mortgage cases, couples usually apply together. In this case, the surviving spouse or loan co-signer will be responsible for paying the debts. However, the probate court considers several factors before determining that the living partner should be paying for the joint debts. In some cases, selling the estate is enough to repay all the deceased’s outstanding debts, while in others, loan providers may settle on an amount lesser than the original debt.

 

A loved one’s death isn’t only emotionally turbulent, but it often also brings complicated financial and legal issues with it. An experienced and reliable probate attorney Queens or probate attorney Brooklyn can help you through each step of the process, from contesting and probating the will to removing an executor or administrator, ensuring complete protection of your rights.

If you’re looking for an experienced probate attorney in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, or other NYC areas, get in touch with the law office of Ledwidge & Associates, P.C. today!

Estate Planning: 3 Of The Most Common Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

Almost 50% of U.S citizens over the age of 55 don’t have a will, which is surprising when you consider that this crucial document allows you to achieve in death what you’ve devoted your entire life to—taking care of those you love.drafting a will

This can be a huge problem for heirs, since the legal process of dividing an estate – known as probate – can take a huge financial and emotional toll if there’s no will in place.

With that being said, just creating a will isn’t enough to safeguard your assets, prevent family disputes, and protect your final wishes. You also have to ensure that the will you create is legally sound and binding.

Avoiding the following common mistakes is a good way to start.

Planning Just For Death

If your will only addresses the fate of your assets when you die, it’s not complete. A truly comprehensive will also address what happens while you’re still alive. This means it should contain legally-binding, detailed instructions that designate and guide caregivers if you can no longer make sound legal decisions because of Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other health conditions.

Therefore, you should create financial and healthcare powers of attorney that can grant individuals the authority to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf.

Ignoring Beneficiaries

A will represents just one of the ways in which properties and assets are divided after death. Beneficiary designations on insurance policies and financial accounts are another way, and the latter generally trumps the former.

For instance, if you want to bequeath all your property and assets to your new girlfriend, but your children are the designated beneficiaries on all your accounts, the statements in your will won’t count for anything.

Addressing Only Your Physical Assets

Forgetting about digital assets, such as email accounts, social media accounts, and online banking credentials, is a common mistake people make in the digital age. Some digital assets, such as particular photos, may hold some sentimental or financial value. Others, such as login credentials, can be abused if they fall into the wrong hands.

If you have an online presence, it’s vital that you bequeath your digital property and information in your will.

Ledwidge & Associates, P.C., is a leading legal firm that assists clients across New York with estate planning, Family Law Services Queens, Family Law Services Brooklyn, divorce, and probate law. If you require our services, get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation.

What Does Administering a Trust Involve?

Part of estate planning requires you to decide if you want a will, a trust, or both. Some people choose to have a will for specific items and a trust for others. There are benefits of having a trust in place beside or in addition to a will. To help you learn more about administering a trust and what is involved in a trust administration, it is important to know the basics about trusts.

What Is a Trust?

A trust is a legal document that describes various properties, bank accounts, investments, and other such assets owned by a person. This person is called the Settlor when creating a trust. The Settlor designates what property and assets will be included in the trust and transferred to the trust administrator or Trustee.

The job of the Trustee is to administer the trust according to the instructions of the Settlor. The Trustee has specific requirements like ensuring they protect the property and assets of the Settlor until such time they are to be distributed after their death.

Are There Different Types of Trusts?

Financial Advisor Talking To Senior Couple At Home

Two general types of trusts exist in New York. A person can have a testamentary trust or a living trust. With a testamentary trust, the trust does not become active until the Settlor dies. With a living trust, the trust becomes active while they are still alive, once it is executed correctly. Administrating a trust also begins while the person is still alive when they create a living trust.  

In addition, there are two different types of living trusts: Irrevocable and Revocable. An irrevocable living trust is where the trust cannot be changed, amended, terminated, or modified without permission from the named beneficiary. Furthermore, any assets listed in an irrevocable trust are transferred out of the estate.

A revocable trust, on the other hand, retains the assets as part of the Settlor’s estate. This allows the Settlor the option to modify, change, terminate, or amend the trust anytime they desire. While the Settlor is alive, any income or other financial gains continue to be distributed to the Settlor as stipulated in the revocable trust. It is only after their death that the assets and money are distributed to the named beneficiaries.

How Does a Trustee Perform Trust Administration?

A Trustee can have several assigned responsibilities and duties to carry out for the Settlor long before they pass away. One of the most common reasons for family disputes and legal issues is because of improper trust administration by a Trustee.

Administering a trust requires more than just attempting to honor the wishes of the Settlor. A Trustee must also be prepared for:

• Asset Management and Protection
• Investing Trust Resources as Directed
• Trust Investment Management
• Managing Trust Distributions
• Maintaining Accurate Trust Records
• Adhering to the Terms of the Trust
• Maintaining Communications with the Settlor
• Maintaining Communications with Beneficiaries After the Settlor’s Death
• Handling Conflicts Between Beneficiaries
• Knowing When a Trust Has to Go Through the New York Probate Process
• Filing and Paying Any Required Taxes

Trust administration requires selecting the right Trustee. This is why most people retain the services of a New York probate attorney to act as their Trustee rather than a close family friend or relative.

Couple Discussing Paperwork With Financial Consultant

By retaining an attorney for administering a trust, they remain objective and can help alleviate any family disputes or other issues that could arise after your death. Additionally, they can offer sound legal estate, will planning, and trust administration advice to ensure your assets and property are protected and distributed according to your intentions.

For further information about trusts and assistance in creating one, please feel free to contact Joseph A. Ledwidge, P.C. at 718-276-6656 today!