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Revocable Living Trusts save time and money

A Revocable Living Trust is an important estate planning tool that allows individuals to transfer assets into a trust during their lifetime. These assets are then transferred directly to beneficiaries without going through probate, the court supervised distribution of assets according to the terms of your Will.

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Naming a Financial Power of Attorney in New York

There are many cases in which granting financial power of attorney to a trusted individual, known in New York as an attorney-in-fact, is helpful.  If you become injured or ill or are for any reason unable to handle your finances, your attorney-in-fact has the power to act on your behalf. This individual can, for example pay bills, access bank accounts to make deposits, supervise investments, collect insurance or government benefits, and handle any other money matters on your behalf. Without a document naming your agent, your family will have to go to court to be granted the ability to take charge of your financial affairs.

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Do not stop contributing to your retirement account

In light of the recent chaos in US and world financial markets, it is easy to understand the temptation to return to a “money under the mattress” saving plan. It may seem counter-intuitive to continue investing given the uncertainty, but contributing should still be an important part of your estate planning.

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Do you need asset protection?

Asset protection is the process by which both business and personal assets are organized so that they are protected from future creditors. This both shields your assets and discourages creditors from pursuing judgments against you. Asset protection, while valuable to everyone, is most necessary for certain types of individuals. These include: • Business owners; • People who are facing difficulties such as divorce or medical issues in the near future; …

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A living trust is an important supplement to a Will

Living trusts are becoming an increasingly popular addition to estate plans. Living trusts are attractive because they allow you to avoid probate – the court supervised process by which estates are administered. With a living trust, assets are transferred directly to the beneficiaries named in the trust, and the trust simply ceases to exist once all assets have been distributed.

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Use Family Limited Partnerships carefully

A Family Limited Partnership, as its name implies, is an arrangement where a family forms a limited partnership to hold family businesses and investments. In this arrangement, parents can make “gifts” of partnership interests to their children. The benefits of a Family Limited Partnership include asset protection and discounts for estate and gift taxes.

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Review your estate plan regularly

One of the important things to remember about your estate plan is that most of the documents contained within it, like your Will, can be amended to reflect changing circumstances. Many people think that they need to put off estate planning until marriage, or having children or some other major life-changing event because they do not realize the amount of flexibility they have in their estate plan. However, waiting can …

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Take advantage of the new rollover rules for non-spousal heirs

The recovery plan enacted last December contains a new rule about the eligibility of non-spousal heirs to receive 401K benefits. Previously, children, siblings and other family members were subject to rules that forced them to cash out, and pay taxes on, an inherited 401K plan within 1-5 years – a rule than never applied to spouses. The new rules are good news for children or other beneficiaries who stand to …

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Discuss your plans with your family

Too many people assume that they are on the same page with other members of their family when it comes to estate planning and planning for the care of minor children or children with special needs. However, this is not always the case. One of the first things a family should do when preparing an estate plan is to sit down together and talk about it. Make sure that everyone’s …

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