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Brooklyn Probate & Estate Administration Law Blog

Consider a power of attorney before you become incapacitated

A power of attorney is a document in which you, the principal, name another person, an agent or attorney-in-fact to act in matters on your behalf. Many military personnel create POAs before deploying overseas in case something happens that needs immediate attention or in case they become incapacitated. Incapacity is probably the most common reason people need POAs. A limited POA lets someone act in a specific situation. For example, you want your son to help you sell your home or help you move into a care facility. Upon completion of the task, the POA ends. 

You might want to grant a financial power of attorney to one child to help you manage your stock and investment accounts. You could also divvy up responsibilities among your children with specific POAs. One person could manage day-to-day bills while another has access to long-term accounts. 

5 Common myths about estate planning

It can be confusing to think about wills, trusts, health care directives and powers of attorney, but it is important to consider estate planning sooner rather than later. Do it for your family instead of leaving the state a portion of your estate when you die. Here are five common misunderstandings about estate planning to help you see the value in having a plan for your assets.

Things to consider when choosing the executor of your estate

Many people in Brooklyn do not give much consideration to who they choose to act as their estate executors. They choose family members and friends because they do not believe they will ever need them to fulfill those roles, and they are not aware of what is involved. Executor designations are not decisions that should be made lightly. It is important for you to choose someone you know and believe will act in good faith on your behalf. Here are some things you should consider when choosing an executor for your estate.

Caring for the elderly can cost more than raising a child, report finds

It is no surprise that the cost of caring for ourselves and our loved ones as we age is expensive. We expect there to be certain costs tied to nursing care, medical care and other needs as we age. We plan, we save and we do our best to make the right choices for our family's future financial stability.

Unfortunately, our estimates about these costs may be understated. A recent report by Forbes notes that the cost of caring for an older adult are more than originally thought. In fact, these costs can exceed the cost of raising a child.

Don't have any kids? You will want an estate plan

While an estate plan is important for parents, people without children might find an estate plan even more essential. If you do not have any kids then the result of your savings, house and wellbeing is up in the air without a written plan.

Make sure your money gets into the right hands

There are three options for your money after you are gone:

  • The government
  • Family and friends
  • Charity

If you do not have any kids and you don't plan on them, then establishing a will early in life can prevent your money from getting dumped down the governmental drain. You can create a will as early as your 30s or 40s to make sure that your money and belongings go to someone you care about. Even if you are in tip top physical shape you never know when an accident could happen.

Two retirement planning tips for families with special needs children

Planning for retirement is an important step towards financial security. Finding the right plan for your family can be an intimidating feat, especially for families with a special needs child. In addition to planning for the future financial needs of two adults who are no longer receiving an income from an employer, these families also need to take into account the needs of another individual.

A recent piece in Financial Advisor discussed some of the challenges that can come with retirement planning in this situation. Three of the biggest issues noted include attempting to estimate the cost of the child's care needs, determining the best cash flow options and deciding the right way to allocate investments.

Three tips for those considering Medicaid eligibility

Those who are starting to consider long-term care needs may want to take steps to qualify for Medicaid.

Three tips that can help better ensure you make the most of your hard earned assets include:

  • Gifting. If you are building your estate with the hopes of passing on assets to future generations, consider starting the process early. It helps out those who may need it when they need it most while giving you the opportunity to enjoy the gift getting put to use.

Estate planning for closely held business owners

The vast majority of U.S. businesses are closely held. While there are many legal and financial advantages to various types of closely held business entities, interest in a closely held business can increase the complexity of estate planning. If you are in the process of estate planning and you own a closely held business, here is some information you should consider. 

How to keep a New York business in the family

Succession planning should be a top priority for any entrepreneur who wishes to transfer a business to a family member at some point in the future. One way to do this is to ensure that the company has been sufficiently developed so that it can be operated by another person. This means researching economic trends and other issues that may influence how the company can be run in the future.

Having a succession plan is only part of ensuring a company's future success. It is also important to implement that plan in a timely manner. At some point, a divorce or a health problem could make it harder to transfer ownership in a manner that is in the company's best interest. Even if a lawsuit or divorce doesn't mean the end of a business, it could significantly lower its value or make it less likely that anyone would want to run it in the current owner's absence.

Is contaminated property part of your estate?

Many people choose to leave property to their loved ones or favorite charitable causes. But what starts as a kindly act can go terribly wrong if the land turns out to be contaminated. Unfortunately, estate plans involving environmentally contaminated property happen more than you might think. In many cases, the individual or couple gifting the property may not even aware the land is contaminated or is in violation of environmental regulations.

Some now refer to this type of inheritance as "toxic succession," or the passing on of contaminated property that ends up costing the new owner more than it's worth. This can happen if the property used to be an auto shop, a Laundromat or even a farm. Many businesses can leave contamination behind, even if they have not been operating for years.

That is why it is important to take a few precautionary steps when gifting or bequeathing property if contamination is a possibility.

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