LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Dedon on Estate Planning: The President’s 2015 Budget: Limitations on Crummey Withdrawal Rights

President Obama’s $2.9 trillion budget for the 2015 fiscal year includes several tax increases, particularly on the wealthy, to pay for increased spending without increasing the deficit. One increase that will not be widely reported pertains to "Crummey" power limitations. (I am limiting...

Recent Changes to New York's Estate Tax Laws

By David R. Schoenhaar, Esq.* Effective April 1, 2014, as part of the implementation of the 2014-2015 budget, the legislature and Governor Cuomo made significant changes to New York’s estate and trust income tax laws. According to Governor Cuomo, a key objective is to provide tax relief to New...

Ask Liza: Can the Executor Give Away Estate Assets?

Dear Liza: My husband is the sole executor (and only child) of his mother’s Will. There are no other beneficiaries listed in her Will. The only asset she had was a home which is valued at about $300,000. Does he need to probate her Will? As the executor can he sell the home to one of our children...

Ask Liza: What to Do When One Parent Lacks Capacity

Dear Liza, my parents do not have a living trust in place. I need to help them set one up. My father and mother are 91 and 83 respectively. My father has a form of dementia that prevents him from making decision about his property. My Mother is fully capable. Does my Mother have the right to make decisions...

Ask Liza: Avoiding a Lump Sum Inheritance

Dear Liza My father wants to leave some of his assets to my brother and sister, however neither of them is particularly adept at handling money and he doesn’t want to hand them a large, lump sum. Can a Will stipulate that they receive payments on a predetermined basis, almost like an allowance...

Dedon On Estate Planning: 2015 Exemption - $5,430,000

The IRS announced inflation adjustment tax items for 2015. Of interest on the estate and gift side, the annual exclusion remains at $14,000. However, the exclusion amount for taxpayers dying in 2015 increased from $5,340,000 to $5,430,000. Thus, a married couple can protect $10,860,000 from federal estate...

Dedon On Estate Planning: Failure To Plan Has A Price

“I never worry about action, but only about inaction.” Winston Churchill “I haven’t decided what I ultimately want to do with my business, or when I want to exit, or how much money I’ll need, or whom to sell to, so how can I plan my exit? Besides, I don’t want to...

Ask Liza: Do I Need a Special Needs Trust for a Son on SSDI?

Dear Liza: I have an adult son who is developmentally disabled. He is able to work and receives Social Security Disability Insurance as well as Medicare. Does he need a Special Needs Trust? I love it when someone asks me a question with a clear answer! Here, the answer is probably not. Your son receives...

Ask Liza: Is A Survivors Trust A Necessary Part Of A Trust?

Dear Liza: My parents have a revocable Trust that is very outdated and we want to make amendments to it. I understand most of the Trust but am having trouble with the Survivors Trust. I was surprised to see that upon the death of one spouse a Survivors Trust may be established. Is this really a necessary...

Ask Liza: How To Store That Estate Plan

Dear Liza: I’ve just completed my estate planning documents using the latest edition of WillMaker Plus, including the will, health care documents, power of attorney, final arrangements, etc. I think all totaled it comes to over 65 pages. I’d like to leave all the documents well-organized...

David Shulman on Estate Planning: Facebook Allows Users to Designate a ‘Legacy Contact’ to Manage Their Account After Death

Finally. For those who have been following, the issue of “digital assets” is a fast developing problem in the estate planning world. Putting aside for a moment who has the right to “inherit” your assets, the bigger problem with estate planning attorneys is who has access to...

Dedon on Estate Planning: Pets and Estate Planning

Bella - A Tribute | Anyone who has not felt the sadness and loss from the death of a pet either has never owned a pet or is devoid of humanity. My three pound Yorkie, Bella (technically, my daughter's dog, but you know how that works), had neurological issues that affected her ability to see and...

Ask Liza: Capital Gains Taxes on Appreciated Property

Dear Liza: My mother gave her house to my sister just before she passed away. My sister is going to sell the house. Do we have to pay taxes on that? If your mother’s house had appreciated in value between the time your mother purchased it, and her death, then the answer is yes. I can’t answer...

John Dedon on Estate Planning: Good news on Estate Tax Exemption

The IRS recently announced the inflation adjusted figures for gift and estate tax exemption amounts for 2016. The annual exclusion amount remains at $14,000. That is the amount that can be gifted to US citizens each year without eroding the per person exemption amount. The exemption amount increases...

John Dedon on Estate Planning: Kardashian Family Continues to Teach Estate Planning Lessons

My March 30, 2015 Post, discussed how Kris Jenner, the matriarch of the Kardashian family, was confused about the difference between 1) her Will and the role of the Executor, and 2) her Living Will and the role of the agent. In an episode of "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," Kris told her...