The Dangers of Do-it-Yourself Wills in New York

These days, just about anything has a do-it-yourself version online. In some cases, such advice is helpful and can save people money and time. But when it comes to most legal situations, including wills and all forms of estate planning, trying to cut corners may have disastrous consequences.

Joint Trust vs. Individual Trust in New York

Determining whether a married couple should establish joint or individual trusts depends on multiple factors; there is simply no one-size-fits-all approach. Although joint trusts are frequently less expensive to set up and may provide better ease of management in certain situations, individual trusts often have far superior advantages.

Guardian Ad Litem in New York

A guardianship is a legal arrangement where the court gives someone the right to make decisions for another person who is incapable of making decisions on their own. Guardian ad litems are often appointed in cases involving children, or mentally incapacitated adults.

Reasons to Contest a Will in New York

Creating a sound estate plan is one of the most important decisions you can make to preserve your legacy and protect your loved ones. Having a clearly written, comprehensive will is the keystone to your plan. Not only can a solid will ensure your assets are distributed in accordance with your last wishes, it can minimize conflict among your surviving heirs.

Surviving Spouse Rights in New York

If you live in New York, have a less than happy marriage, and think you can disown your spouse when drafting your will, think again. In fact, the Empire State has specific laws in place to prevent you from disinheriting your spouse from your estate plan.

New York Probate Timeline

Probate is the process of validating a deceased person’s will. Since no two probate cases are the same, the length of time it takes for the process to conclude can vary greatly. From start to finish, probate can range from months to several years.

New York Inheritance Tax

Unless you plan for it, inheritance tax (also known as estate tax or death tax) can take a big bite out of the money and property you wanted your family to inherit. Usually, the executor of an estate is responsible for filing a New York estate tax return and paying the tax within nine months after the person dies. The executor typically works with legal and financial professionals to determine the value of the estate and to determine the federal and state taxes the estate owes.

Avoiding Probate in New York

There are many good reasons to have a will as part of your estate plan. A will helps ensure that your property is divided according to your wishes. Without a will, property is divided according to New York State law, which may not coincide with your wishes.

The Role of Life Insurance in Estate Planning

Along with other estate planning tools, having life insurance provides a way to guarantee a lump sum of money will immediately transfer to your beneficiaries tax free. While it might not mitigate their grief, life insurance can help ensure that financial worries will not add to your family’s sadness