Category Archives: Estate Planning

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: What You Can Expect

What can you expect from your Chapter 7 bankruptcy? What follows is what you can expect from a typical Chapter 7, although your own personal circumstances may change the outcome... To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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A Historic Look at Wills and Trusts

Neil Jones (Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge) recently published his article entitled Wills, Trusts and Trusting from the Statute of Uses to Lord Nottingham, 31 J. of Legal History 273 (2010). The abstract available on SSRN is below: Medieval….. To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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Abusive Tax Schemes Often Cause Confusion in the Asset Protection Planning Arena

When clients come to see me for asset protection planning, I will occasionally get questions about offshore trusts that are part of abusive tax shelters and which the client has read about or seen described on the news. A man from Niagara Falls, NY was recently sentenced to 36 months in prison for selling and promoting an abusive tax shelter scheme that involved offshore trusts and domestic trusts. It is stories like this one that confuse many clients and give them unnecessary concerns about what asset protection planning really is. As I always tell my clients, the asset protection planning we do for our clients is not designed to shelter income or avoid the payment of income taxes; instead it utilizes legitimate structures with the simple goal of helping these clients legally position their assets in a way which makes them less vulnerable to creditors... To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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New York Estate Planning Best Done Before Health Declines

When it comes to New York estate planning, timing matters. While it is always better to conduct some long-term financial and well-being preparation than none, there is a large benefit to handling the planning while one is still capable. This means before a medical emergency strikes. Of course, it is also necessary to regularly update the plan so that it accounts for changes in life circumstances. On Wednesday, Forbes published an article that emphasizes the importance of planning before a serious medical or financial setback makes things more complicated. The article was part of a week-long series shared to promote National Estate Planning Awareness Week. Our New York elder law estate planning attorneys help seniors every day who want to ensure that their long-term financial affairs are in order and to bring peace of mind by planning for end of life care. However, we are aware that a large segment of the population still has not taken the time to make necessary preparations. According to the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils, more than 120 million Americans have not created or properly updated their estate plans. While it remains tough for many residents to discuss these topics, there is far too much to gain to put off having conversations about long-term needs. If you have an elder relative who has not yet crafted an estate plan or made preparations for long-term healthcare, it is often helpful to gently mention the benefit of the planning effort to them. Many residents wait too long to take action and fail to have any plan in place when they fall into poor health and need special care services. Having plans in place ahead of time, before a major illness, often means that the senior can preserve a much larger portion of their savings and can receive the best available long-term care that maximizes their quality of life. Those who have not taken steps to prepare for long-term care often face significant challenges that could have been avoided. For one thing, many are forced to use their life savings to pay for the services they need to get by each day. Many other simply do not have the resources necessary. As a result, many of them are forced to go without. A new study from the American Society of Clinical Oncology revealed some stark statistics. Nearly 50% of senior survey respondents indicated that they had to borrow money to pay for needed services like prescriptions. Roughly 30% admitted to not filling prescriptions, and another 20% took less medication than advised so that the pills would last longer. While these statistics paint a grim picture of some aspects of our healthcare system, they also reflect a lack of proper awareness about the resources available to community members who are facing these needs. See Our Related Blog Posts: Estate Planning May Be A Family Decision Tips for Giving Financial Aid to Family and Friends.. To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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Per Stirpes and Per Capita: Common Phrases, Commonly Misunderstood

The phrases "per stirpes" and "per capita" are frequently used in wills drafted by lawyers. They refer to the manner in which property is to be distributed between, or amongst, beneficiaries. Despite their frequent use, these phrases are commonly misunderstood. Generally speaking, the phrase "per stirpes" is taken to describe a manner of distribution to issue (i.e. lineal descendants) where each branch of the family is to receive an equal share of an estate. If a testator divides the residue of her estate amongst her "issue in equal shares per stirpes" it means that, in the first instance, the testator's children will be entitled to the residue of the estate in equal shares; however, if any child has died leaving children of her own, the children of such predeceased child (the testator's grandchildren) will receive the predeceased child's share, and if any grandchild entitled to such a share has died leaving children of her own, the children of such predeceased grandchild (the testator's great grandchildren) would then be entitled to the predeceased grandchild's share, and so on. This method of distribution can be contrasted with a "per capita" distribution. If a testator divides the residue of her estate amongst "issue alive at my death in equal shares per capita," then all of the testator's issue, including all children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren etc., would receive an equal share. For example, if a testator is survived by three children, four grandchildren, and one great grandchild, then each descendant would receive one eighth of the residue of the estate. A helpful diagram comparing "per stirpes" and "per capita" distribution is found here. Because the phrases "per stirpes" and "per capita" can be misunderstood, some lawyers avoid them all together and others include a clear definition of the phrases in the will. Thanks for reading, Saman M. Jaffery.. To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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