Preventive Medicine for the Health of Your Estate

By Jennifer F. Hillman and Leora A. Ardizzone Physicians and other licensed health care providers labor many years to build their practices. However, unlike many other businesses a health care practice cannot be passed by will or otherwise to the provider's spouse or children, unless they too...

Deirdre Wheatley-Liss: Love is Lost - And So is Your Inheritance - Divorce Really Ends Things

A common plan among our married clients is to leave their property to their spouse, either outright or in trust - oft-referred to as the "I Love You" Will. Sometimes, love is lost and the couple divorces. We recommend our clients update their Wills after any life-changing event, including...

Spouse vs. Charity: Estate Tax Apportionment

By John G. Farinacci, Esq. Ruskin Moscou Faltischek, P.C. We know that estate taxes are to be paid in the manner of a testator's choosing, but if the testator fails to make that choice, then estate taxes are "equitably apportioned among the persons interested in the gross tax estate."...

Deirdre Wheatley-Liss: Personal Injury Damages and Medicaid Liens - SCOTUS Decides

You have a horrific accident and are looking at a life of extreme medical care. The accident was caused by another person (drunk truck driver). You get a multi-million dollar award. Does the state that you live in get a share? First, personal injury awards are generally free from income tax. Section...

Ask Liza: Are Wills Drafted In Other States Valid?

Dear Liza: I would like to know if my wife and I had a will drawn up in Colorado and now reside in Arzonia do we need to have it redone? If your Will was valid in Colorado, it will be valid in Arizona. Both states require that a Will be in writing, be written by someone over 18 years old, and be witnessed...

Potential Pitfalls of an Out of State Executor: Keep New York Estate Assets in New York

By Jennifer F. Hillman Pursuant to New York Surrogate Court Procedure Act ("SCPA") § 711, a fiduciary cannot remove property of an estate from New York without prior approval of the Court. A violation of this duty could lead to suspension, modification of letters testamentary or removal...

Ask Liza: Annual Gifts and Lifetime Gifts

Dear Liza, I would like to give my son $200k to upgrade homes. Can me and my wife each give $13,000 to my son, daughter in law, and two grand children? That would be $102,000, and then apply the remaining $98,000 to the unified tax credit. Can I write it all in one check for the four of them? You...

Pre Nuptial Waivers Not Enforceable Unless Properly Acknowledged

By Peter K. Kelly, Esq. Of Counsel, Ruskin Moscou Faltischek P.C. A nuptial agreement which waives certain rights under equitable distribution must be in writing, subscribed by the parties and acknowledged in the manner entitle for a deed to be recorded. Domestic Relations Law Section 236B(3)....

Ask Liza: Should We Get Married? Estate Planning for Same Sex Couples Now

By Liza Weiman Hanks | Dear Liza: My long term domestic partner of 30 years and I were registered domestic partners for a few years and then she decided she wanted to be totally financially independent of me so we terminated the agreement last year. We are still together as a couple and live five...

John Dedon On Estate Planning: Preparing a Certificate of Trust

Clients often ask about a Trust "Certificate" or "Certification." A Trust Certificate serves as a summary of the Trust provisions, and is designed to provide third parties, such as banks, insurance companies, or financial institutions, with essential but basic information for purposes...

John Dedon On Estate Planning: Estate Planning – What a Difference a Year Makes

In contrast to this time last year, when clients were frantically gifting to save estate tax before adverse tax law changes, this year has returned to the norm, with more traditional and routine end of year planning. In December 2012, Congress at the last minute preserved the $5 million exemption...

Dedon on Estate Planning: Ringing in the New Year With Good Estate Tax News

By John Dedon In the estate tax world, 2013 ended in stark contrast to the frantic planning during 2012. 2013 marked a return to fundamental estate planning; namely, using Wills, Revocable Trusts, Powers of Attorney and Medical Directives, to protect the family assets for a surviving spouse and children...

Making Your Mark: Using a Fingerprint When a Testator Cannot Sign the Will

By Jennifer F. Hillman, Esq. We have all seen the movies where an illiterate individual signs an important document with an “X”. Even literate clients may have difficulty signing a document due to a severe physical impairment. Compliance with the requirements of New York Estate Powers...

Ask Liza: Adding That New Baby

By Liza Weiman Hanks Dear Liza: My wife and I are the proud parents of two young boys. As a part of our estate planning we have created a Joint Living Trust and funded it with the title to our home, our life insurance policies as well as a few other things. We are now, however, expecting a third child...

Dedon on Estate Planning: Disposition of Tangible Personal Property in a Side Letter

A common question asked by clients preparing their Wills is how to dispose of tangible personal property upon death. For example, I am asked, "I have jewelry and a coin collection, do I need to specify how those items are distributed among my children upon my death or can I simply tell the children...

David Shulman: Who Gets Paid If an Alleged Incapacitated Person Dies Before the Hearing? Nobody?

By David Shulman I’m sure there are some independently wealthy attorneys out there who take all of their cases pro bono . Most of us though are hard-working schlubs like everyone else who while we love what we do, need to pay the bills too. When we work there is some hope or expectation of getting...

McNees Insights: Estate Planning for Digital Assets

By Andrew S. Rusniak It is often said that the law lags behind technology. One area where this sentiment is particularly applicable is estate planning for digital assets. In a world where our lives are becoming ever more digital, many estate planning practitioners unfortunately attempt to rely on...

McNees Insights on Estate Planning: Who Gets Your IRA? – 6 Common Mistakes

By David M. Watts, Jr. | Do you want your heirs to have to chase after your 401K or IRA money? Many of us have a significant portion of our assets held in retirement plans, such as 401Ks and IRAs, and your Will does not control who gets your 401K or IRA. Therefore, it is important to make sure you...

David Shulman on Estate Planning: Finding Your Digital Assets After Death

by David Shulman I’ve written before about estate planning for your digital assets and online accounts. Well this article isn’t necessarily about planning , but what happens after you die – especially if you don’t plan (or even if you do). I do both estate planning and probate...