Posted tagged ‘wills’

IS A “SIMPLE” WILL RIGHT FOR YOU?

August 9, 2013

A “simple” Will can be defined as one by which the person making the Will (the testator) leaves all assets first to his spouse. If the spouse predeceases the testator, then all assets go to the children in equal shares. For some people this may be fine.
For other people, a simple Will may not be best because it does not consider these and other issues:
1. Children may get money or assets outright at eighteen, the age of majority, and might not use the money for college or some other use the testator supports.
2. It’s a second marriage, the children are not of this marriage and the testator never adopted them, even though he considers them to be his children.
3. One child receives governmental benefits and anything left to that child will make them ineligible for those benefits.
4. Uncertainty as to what assets transfer under the Will instead of by other means.
5. The testator made unequal financial gifts during his lifetime (maybe paid for college) and wants to equalize monies given to children in the Will.
6. The testator wants to leave something to some grandchildren and to a couple of charities.
The lawyers at Bansbach Zoghlin P.C. can draft a simple Will or a Will tailored to your life. If you would like to talk with or send an e-mail to one of us, please let us know.
BANSBACH ZOGHLIN P.C.
Tel: (585) 227-2610
John M. Bansbach, Esq. jbansbach@banszog.com
Mindy L. Zoghlin, Esq. mzoghlin@banszog.com
Gerald F. Wahl, Esq. gwahl@banszog.com
The information contained in this article is not legal advice. Bansbach Zoghlin provides legal advice to clients who retain it to provide services.

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WAYS TO AVOID PROBATE COURT

July 19, 2013

It’s possible to keep assets that transfer because of death out of probate court.   If you do this, a probate court judge (New York State calls them a “Surrogate’s Court Judge”) will not be involved in your estate.  This is true whether you die with or without a Will. There can be many advantages to avoiding Surrogate’s Court:  less expense for court filing fees and attorney fees; less exposure of your assets to claims of creditors; faster distribution of assets; and greater privacy.

There are simple ways to keep your post-death financial transactions out of a probate court.   These include: (a) owning assets as a joint tenant so that the survivor becomes the owner by operation of law (often done with real estate and bank accounts); (b) naming beneficiaries and contingent beneficiaries (for example, life insurance and IRAs); and (c) using TOD (Transfer on Death) accounts.

Less simple ways to keep assets out of probate court include transferring them  during your life to a revocable or an irrevocable trust and transferring your home to children with the reservation of your right to live in your home as long as you choose (a so-called “life estate”).  In addition to keeping assets out of probate court, these types of transfers can increase the certainty that what you want will to happen does happen and avoid the need to pay for nursing home care privately in order to spend down assets to achieve Medicaid eligibility.

 If you’re interested in avoiding estate probate, the lawyers at Bansbach Zoghlin P.C. can help you.

THINK OF THE LIVING: ESTATE PLANNING

June 3, 2013

Estate planning benefits you and people you care about during and after your life. It is far more than making a Will that distributes your assets after you die.

You benefit during your life by appointing an agent under a Power of Attorney to make financial decisions. This lets you choose a trusted relative or friend to make decisions for you if you are disabled and avoids the need for a court to appoint a guardian for you.

You benefit during your life by appointing a proxy under a Health Care Proxy to make medical decisions. This lets you select a trusted relative or friend to make medical decisions if you are unable and avoids the need for a court to appoint a guardian for you.

Minor children or disabled persons you care about benefit from your estate planning. You can appoint a caring guardian to raise minor children and a financially responsible trustee to make their money decisions. This avoids a court appointing the guardian and trustee. You can make disabled children and adults beneficiaries of a special type of trust (a supplemental needs trust). A special needs trust will provide money for experiences and creature comforts the disabled person might not otherwise have and will not disqualify them from receiving governmental benefits.

People who will pay the expenses of your estate benefit when you plan for what will be owed and where estate tax, probate expenses, lawyer’s’ fees, accountant’s’ fees, funeral and burial expenses will come from.

People who handle your end-of-life affairs benefit when you make funeral and burial arrangements and state who will get what items of property with sentimental value. Items with sentimental value may be worth more to your heirs than their dollar value would suggest. Planning removes uncertainty about what you want and can make it easier to accomplish what you want.

Finally, planning will make it more likely your money and assets will go to the persons you choose. Planning can reduce the amount of your assets that go to pay nursing home expense, make it easier to earlier qualify for Medicaid, reduce estate taxes, and increase the likelihood that what you leave will not be squandered but will achieve good.