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Estate Planning Insights & Tips

Tips to help find the right elder law attorney for your needs

The current legal market is shifting from one where a single individual can handle almost any legal issue to a market that requires specialization. Much like the medical field, these days it is common for each attorney to have a specialty. As a result, just like you would not go to a cardiologist to treat a broken foot, it is generally best to avoid asking a family law practitioner about your estate planning needs.

Narrowing it down to a specific area of law is not enough. A number of attorneys may have a legal practice that would cover your legal issue in your area. So, how can you find the right attorney for you?

How to avoid common estate planning myths

Estate planning plays a vital role in protecting your loved ones and your legacy. Unfortunately, common estate planning myths can push people down the wrong path when it comes to protecting their wishes and their family.

Myth: Not everyone needs an estate plan

One of the biggest myths surrounding estate planning is who needs to have an estate plan. Despite popular belief, everyone should have an estate plan, not just wealthy individuals and families. Why? Because failing to have an estate plan in place leaves your wishes unknown and can create challenges for distributing your estate.

Two reasons to see an elder law attorney

An elder law attorney is a legal professional that specializes in the issues that arise as we age. These issues can include the transfer of the power to make financial or health care related decisions and planning for long-term care needs.

5 estate planning documents to update when you remarry

A second marriage brings unique estate planning needs. Although some may view the need to discuss an estate plan as a relatively morbid topic, the discussion can prompt a conversation about future goals.

How do taxes work for irrevocable and revocable trusts?

Whenever money is involved, odds are high the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is also involved. One example involving estate planning is the use of trusts. Trusts are essentially legal tools that govern the distribution of certain funds. This piece will discuss how the IRS taxes two main types of trusts: revocable and irrevocable.

Two important things to know about irrevocable trusts

An irrevocable trust is a legal tool that can help shelter funds from creditors. A wisely structured trust can help to better ensure an intended heir not only receives their inheritance but also gets an inheritance that is protected from attempts by creditors to claim ownership interest in the funds.

Although a grantor can draft this tool to meet a number of wishes, some common errors can negate the benefits of the irrevocable trust.

Could a trust have solved Tom Petty's estate battles?

Tom Petty, the world-renowned singer-songwriter, passed away in 2017. His beneficiaries include two adult daughters and a wife. His wife at the time of his passing was not the mother of his children.

Like most blended families, the death of the uniting factor -- in this case the spouse and father -- has led to strife between the mother and her step-children.

Trusts: What is the difference between revocable and irrevocable?

A trust is a legal tool that allows the creator to have greater control over his or her assets. Depending on the structure of the trust, the legal tool can result in tax benefits, shelter assets from creditors and even guide how money is used in the future.

There are many different types of trusts. One of the first decisions to make involves whether the trust will be revocable or irrevocable.

Don't forget about your digital assets during estate planning

Digital assets play a significant role in your estate plan. What are digital assets and why should you care what happens to them when you pass away? Two important questions with equally important answers.

Digital assets are online accounts or digital files. Common digital assets include your online financial accounts, social media accounts, images and videos. Failure to include digital assets in your estate plan can make it difficult, if not impossible, for your loved ones to honor your final wishes when it comes to your finances and personal property.

Distribution of assets part II: Proactive steps for a fair split

As discussed in our previous post, When is an Equal Distribution of Assets a Bad Idea?, available here, splitting assets does not always work out as we may intend. This post will discuss some proactive steps you can take to better ensure an equal inheritance.

Retirement assets and tax obligations, step one: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not treat all retirement assets equally. As discussed in the post noted above, the first impact involves whether the retirement account was a taxable investment or tax deferred.

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Connors and Sullivan, Attorneys at Law, PLLC
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Phone: 718-414-6209
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Middle Village, NY 11379

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Staten Island, NY 10305

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