Estate Planning and Elder Law Blog

What’s the difference between a condo and co-op?

tall condo building against blue sky

Condominiums (“condos”) and housing co-operative (“co-ops”) seem very similar. Generally, both are apartments within a multi-unit building.   The major difference lies in the ownership structure. When you buy a condo, you receive a deed and own an individual unit along with undivided interest in the common elements. Co-op owners are granted a proprietary lease and…

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Applying for Medicaid to Protect a Spouse

senior couple walking on a sidewalk

There are many misconceptions surrounding Medicaid long-term care. One persistent myth is that a couple will lose all of their assets if one of the spouses applies for Medicaid to pay for a nursing home. This could not be further from the truth – applying for Medicaid long term care for one spouse makes sure…

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What makes a will valid in New York?

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A Last Will and Testament allows you to direct where your assets go at your death and who will be legally in charge of the estate. New York law sets forth specific requirements for a legally valid will. Failure to follow such requirements will result in the Surrogate’s Court rejecting the Will as invalid.  In…

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Have you checked if you have unclaimed funds in New York state?

senior couple using a laptop

Did you know that banks, insurance companies, corporations and courts are required by law to report dormant accounts to the New York State Comptroller? These organizations must attempt to notify you by mail and publish this information in newspapers. Nevertheless, many funds remain unclaimed and are turned over to the Office of the State Comptroller….

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How to Fund Your Trust

couple shaking hands with trust attorney

Some of you may be thinking, “I signed my trust, now what?”  Now it is time to fund your trust… you must put something in it! A trust is a document that creates a legal entity. There are various reasons to create a trust. Some people create trusts to avoid probate at death, to protect…

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Does my income disqualify me for Medicaid long-term care?

senior man smiling with doctor

Medicaid provides long term care coverage to eligible individuals who meet certain asset and income requirements. Many people do not realize that they can become eligible for Medicaid and preserve assets – even when their assets and income seem too high.  There are two types of Medicaid long-term care: Nursing Home Care (“Chronic Medicaid”) and…

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Who owns the property when there is a life estate?

An ownership interest in real property is a combination of a bundle of different rights, the rights to possession, use, transfer, encumber and exclude. A life estate is a type of joint ownership of real property with ownership “split” between a present interest and a remainder interest. The individual holding the life estate – the…

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How much does a trustee get paid?

man in suit extending 100 dollar bills

Being a Trustee of a trust carries serious responsibilities and trustees are compensated for their time. Section 2309 of the New York Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act (“SCPA”) sets forth the computation of commissions payable to trustees. Trustees can receive  commissions on the amount of property that a trustee pays out and annual statutory commissions. Pursuant…

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2022 Updates to Estate and Gift Taxes

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The Build Back Better Act was passed by the House of Representatives on November 5, 2021 and is headed for the Senate. None of the major provisions that would have affected estate planning were included in the House version. However, the Senate may put some of those provisions back in before passing. We will keep…

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What if co-trustees do not agree?

two sisters arguing in an apartment

A trustee manages and distributes assets in a trust. A trustee can be is an individual or a financial institution. At times, clients may choose to name two or more individuals as co-trustees in their trust document to perform these duties together. Appointing co-trustees encourages an extra degree of deliberation when making distribution decisions or…

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