Estate planning involves designating individuals who will be passed down your assets and who will handle your asset related responsibilities.
When it comes to estate planning, you need to be thorough and careful in how it’s done. Everyone should avoid some common mistakes, which include forgetting to update asset ownership, not understanding the plan, and designating outdated beneficiaries. Here’s what you need to consider during estate planning:
Wills and Trusts
In every estate plan, the most crucial elements include the deceased’s will and trust. These documents lay down the essence of what you would like to be done with your assets and properties in the event of an incident where you are left incapacitated.
A will lays down the division of your assets and property among your beneficiaries, as per your instructions. At the same time, a trust protects your finances and property by reducing the taxable amount. If both are absent, the state is left to decide what to do with your remaining wealth.
Power of Attorney
The power of attorney is a position granted to an individual whom you believe is capable of making decisions on your behalf. A power of attorney signifies that they can handle your assets and manage all financial transactions, as you would have.
Again, it is essential to create this position as the court can step in on your behalf to make those decisions for you. These decisions may sometimes not be the ones you would have made.
As start allocating your assets, you will assign them to certain parties called beneficiaries. These beneficiaries will be entitled to your funds and property. In essence, they will be your heirs. A common mistake people make here is forgetting to update their beneficiaries, such as having property left for their ex-spouse or assign the same thing to more than one person.
In order to avoid long, drawn-out legal battles following your demise, make sure your estate planning lawyer keeps the list of beneficiaries updated.
The Effect Taxes Have on Your Estate
Estate tax refers to the rate of tax that is deductible from your inheritance. New York estate tax is outlined in these forms.
Your beneficiaries or heirs may have to pay these taxes on whatever asset or property they inherit.
Do You Have a Legal Executor?
A legal executor helps execute your estate plan in your absence. They are responsible for carrying out the tasks and duties assigned by you. A legal executor needs someone you trust and believe has your best interest and will make wise decisions on your behalf.
If you’re looking for an estate lawyer in Queens, Brooklyn, or New York, you’ve come to the perfect place.
At Ledwidge & Associates, P.C., we are a reputable legal firm with fifteen years of experience. Headed by Joseph Ledwidge, an expert probate lawyer, our firm is equipped with dedicated expertise to handle complex legal issues. We also provide services that include hiring a family attorney, probate lawyer, litigation lawyer, Divorce Attorney Brooklyn, Divorce Attorney Queens and much more. Get in touch with us to book a consultation and seek professional representation in legal matters.
A marriage is a legal union of two people who want to spend their lives together. There are certain rights and obligations of each spouse that have to be met. One of those rights is spousal support. The blog will discuss what spousal support is, its laws and principles, and how you can claim it.
What Is Spousal Support?
Spousal support is used interchangeably as spousal maintenance and alimony but there’s a difference. Spousal support is an amount paid by one spouse to another spouse during marriage and divorce proceedings, while spousal maintenance and alimony are paid after a divorce. According to Family Law, spousal support is a right and one should fight for it when marriage obligations aren’t being met. Our family lawyer can help you claim spousal support.
Laws And Principles Pertaining Spousal Support
The family court awards the spousal support since spouses have a legal duty to support each other financially. Furthermore, both spouses have to be alive to claim and receive spousal support. It has no term limit, and the spouse can receive the amount until the divorce or death of one of the spouses. Both the petitioner (the spouse claiming for spousal support) and the respondent (the spouse that supposedly ought to pay) can hire family lawyers.
How To Claim Spousal Support Or Maintenance
A spousal support case starts once the petitioner files a petition in the Family Court. The court then summons the respondent to be served. The judge or support magistrate decides the verdict after assessing the financial situation of each spouse. However, after a divorce, one can’t claim spousal support but can claim spousal maintenance during divorce proceedings.
Under the 2015 law regarding spousal maintenance, the amount is determined based upon each spouse’s income. You can use this calculator to determine your spousal maintenance amount. If you want to seek legal aid when claiming spousal support and maintenance, you’ll need the assistance of an experienced divorce attorney.
Ledwidge & Associates, P.C., is a trusted law firm in New York City that focuses on estate planning and Family Law Services Brooklyn and Family Law Attorney Queens. Our divorce attorney can serve spouses seeking a divorce in Brooklyn, Bronx, Long Island, Manhattan and Queens and guide them through the divorce process. Contact us now and our divorce attorney will gladly be of assistance.
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.
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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The will you make should ideally include details for how you would want all your assets to be settled and distributed amongst all your beneficiaries. People will add the different properties they own, the liquid money and valuables they have, and the money they expect to get to be distributed.
Most people would expect that money owed to you from your workplace would also end up in the same assets pile, but that’s not necessarily the case. The way your pension is moved around and if you’re able to pass it forward depends on a lot of different factors. Let’s have a look at what they are.
The Type of Pension
A major factor for whether you’ll be able to pass on your pension depends on what type of pension plan you have set up. Essentially there are two major types of pension plans that can be transferred to someone else.
You have the standard “Fixed Benefit” plan, which is a company-sponsored pension. This plan is a tax-free, company-sponsored fund that’s calculated on time served with the company and how much your salary was. The other option is a “Fixed Contribution” plan that relies on employees putting a bit of their own salary in a tax-free account, and the number is matched by their employer.
Who can Inherit a Pension?
Unlike your other assets, it’s not as easy to just give the money you have in your pension account away to any living friend or family member through your will. Pensions often come with a lot of legal terms attached to them that dictate where the money can go. Many pension plans are for one person only and may actually be wasted if you pass away before you claim it.
If you have the sort of pension plan that would allow you to transfer it forward, you would still only be able to give it to either your spouse or child officially. You may want to review what yours allows with the help of a litigation lawyer or an estate law attorney.
Claiming your Funds
To add the funds to your will, you would need a combination of the right factors, which would include things like your company’s policies on transferring pensions, your type of pension plan, and if you’ve been working long enough to actually get the pension claim, among a few other things.
The whole process can still be quite messy and hard to figure out. Getting help from a professional from our team can make the whole process easier. With our experienced probate attorney Queens and probate attorney Brooklyn and estate law attorney in Queens, we can help with any issues that come up regarding your will.
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?
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!
When a loved one has passed on, you will inevitably need to begin the work of settling their estate, which will involve going through the probate process with a Queens probate lawyer. In order to ensure your loved one’s property is distributed properly, it’s necessary to understand the difference between probate vs. non-probate assets.
What Is Probate?
The probate process proves the validity of a will before a Surrogate’s Court in the county where the deceased was living. Once the court accepts the will, the assets contained in that will can be distributed. However, before this can happen, the relatives of the deceased need to be called to court and given the opportunity to contest the will with a New York probate attorney if they feel they were unfairly treated.
Probate assets are those which are owned only by the deceased. These assets include items that are in their name alone, such as bank accounts, titled or held property, and life insurance policies.
Probate assets also include any interest the deceased may have had in a company, whether it was a limited liability, corporation, or partnership. Personal property such as automobiles, jewelry, and furniture are also considered to be probate assets by New York probate law.
Non-probate assets are those which are not solely in the deceased’s name. These assets include retirement, brokerage, and life insurance accounts which list a name other than the deceased’s as the beneficiary. Any property that’s held in a trust qualifies as a non-probate asset, as does property held in its entirety by tenants or in a joint tenancy.
A major difference between probate and non-probate assets is that the deceased’s will does not control how non-probate assets are distributed. Where the deceased has named one or more specific beneficiaries for non-probate items, those items will be distributed directly to these named individuals. Non-probate items without a named beneficiary may default to the estate of the deceased so that those assets can be distributed according to terms laid out in their will.
Probate Can Be a Complex Process
Unfortunately, the New York probate process sometimes becomes a difficult and complex process to navigate when family members contest the will of a loved one, or the settlement of a loved one’s assets places a significant financial burden on the executor.
Even jointly owned accounts can be challenged, which can complicate matters even further, not to mention cause division within the family. This can all add more negativity to an already difficult situation.
With a strong focus on probate and estate administration law, the law offices of Joseph A. Ledwidge PC represent executors, fiduciaries, heirs, beneficiaries, and other interested parties. Possessing a combined 32 years of experience, our attorneys understand the value and importance of providing clients with attentive service and manageable fees.
Your result matters. If you need help navigating the New York probate process of a loved one, call (718) 276-6656 to be put in touch with an experienced Queens probate lawyer.
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