Estate Planning and Elder Law Blog

Taking RMDs from IRA Accounts

  Question: I will be turning 70 ½ later this year and I know that I have to begin taking my required minimum distribution soon. I have heard that there are penalties assessed by the IRS if I do not take the distribution correctly, can you explain this to me? Answer: You are correct, the…

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Should I Have a Trust?

  Question: I am a 72 year old widow. I own my house and have an IRA but have very little in cash assets, do I need a trust? Answer: Yes, you could benefit from having an irrevocable trust. For you, the main purpose of this trust would be to protect your house so that…

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Duties of an Estate Fiduciary

The executor is a fiduciary of the estate and must administer the estate in accordance with the decedent’s wishes as stated in the will. Generally, the duties of an executor are as follows: Collect and safeguard the decedent’s assets; Obtain appraisals, if necessary; Open an estate checking account; Determine the validity of creditors’ claims; Pay…

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Reverse Mortgage Trusts

  Question: My mother owns her home and is considering putting it into an irrevocable trust. She is concerned that if in the future she wanted to take a Reverse Mortgage on the property, she would not be able because the house is owned by a trust, is that correct? Answer:  The mere fact that…

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New NY Estate Tax Law

New York’s Estate Tax law has just seen its most dramatic change in recent memory. Finally, the exemption has increased from $1,000,000.00 where it has remained since 2002, with the exemption set to increase annually until it matches the federal estate tax exemption in 2019. After 2019, the exemption will be indexed for inflation annually…

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Tax Returns to File When Someone Passes Away

The Executor or Administrator of an Estate may be required to file three separate returns: an individual tax return for the decedent, estate income tax return and estate tax return. 1. Individual Income Tax Return The first step is to file the decedent’s final income tax return for the year of his or her death….

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Life Insurance in your Estate

What You Need to Know About Life Insurance and Your Estate Many people choose to invest in a life insurance policy. Some choose to purchase a term life insurance policy wherein the insured pays a premium for a period of years and if he or she passes away during that period of time, the policy…

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Taking Required Minimum Distributions from IRA’s

  Question: I have an IRA, and someone told me that once I reach a certain age that I have to take distributions from that IRA. Can you explain this to me? Answer: In general, you will have to take required minimum distributions from your IRA when you turn 70 ½.   The minimum withdrawal is,…

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Do I Need a Power of Attorney?

Question: My husband and I own almost all of our assets jointly and those which we do not, have designated beneficiaries.  Is it still necessary to have a Power of Attorney? Answer: The answer is yes.  Clients often ask this question and our answer is always the same, no matter how your property is titled…

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Ancillary Probate Proceedings

  Question:  My mother is a resident of Virginia.  She owns a condominium in Virginia and has several bank accounts in her sole name. She also owns a summer home in Westhampton that is titled in her sole name.  When she passes away, what is the procedure to transfer her Westhampton home to the beneficiaries…

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