Who should have an estate plan?

Estate Planning is not only for retired and older individuals or for people with a large estate or large house, it is for everyone! Unfortunately, estate planning can often become a neglected part of many people’s financial planning. Everyone has an estate, and that means you should have estate plan. For young parents an estate plan can protect your most valuable assets, your children. A will is an incredibly important document to advise the court as to who you would like to take care of your children if you were to pass before your children reach the age of majority.

An estate consists of everything you own between cars, real estate, bank accounts, etc. With no estate plan set up, in the event of your death, your assets will be divided according the New York State laws of intestacy. The New York laws do not know your desires in distributing your estate, only you know that.

A proper estate plan can help save on estate taxes, avoid a guardianship proceeding, elect a caretaker for your children, and distribute your assets according to your wishes and desires.

For further information and to discuss your current situation, we are happy to talk. Please feel free to give us a call at (718) 875-2191 or fill out a contact form.

I Have Been Appointed as Guardian in New York, Now What?

gaurdianship attorneyYou have now been appointed as Guardian of the Person and/or Property in New York. You have participated in the hearing and have been told by the judge that you will be acting as Guardian for the incapacitated person. Listed below are steps which must be taken to qualify as a Guardian after the hearing.

  • Review CAREFULLY the Order and Judgment appointing the Guardian of the person and property- The order explicitly lists out what is expected of the Guardian, the powers of the guardian, and the necessary duties that the guardian must fulfill.
  • Guardianship Training Class- The law requires that Guardians go through a training class. As Guardian of the Property the guardian must act as a fiduciary for the incapacitated person, and keep meticulous records. The class explains what is expected of the guardian by the Court.
  • Bond- the Order and Judgment will often set a surety bond to protect the assets of the Incapacitated Person. The bond is like an insurance policy, which is paid for from the incapacitated person’s money. If the guardian were to misappropriate the funds of the incapacitated person, the bond would secure the monies of the incapacitated person.
  • Oath and Designation- This is an oath from the Guardian designating the county clerk for service if the guardian cannot be located.
  • Commission- This states that the bond has been obtained and filed, and the oath and designation has been filed. It allows the person to begin acting as the Guardian and marshalling assets.
  • 90 day report- 90 days from filing the commission the guardian must submit a report to the court examiner, the person appointed to review the actions of the guardian, and to the court. The report lists the assets marshaled, the assets that have not been marshaled, and what actions are being taken on behalf of the incapacitated person.
  • Annual Accountings- Every year a report is due in May to the court examiner and the court. This report lists all the monies that were received and expended. The Guardian is responsible for keeping very detailed records and showing all the money that has come in and all the money that was spent on the incapacitated person.

Having an attorney help you with all these steps can help protect you as Guardian.

, please feel free to give us a call at (718) 875-2191 or request a consultation.

Probate 103- Distribution According to the Last Will and Testament

The last step of an estate is everyone’s favorite, distribution. After all the estate’s property has been marshaled and liabilities have been paid, the executor can begin the process of distribution according to the Last Will and Testament. The executor should wait 7 months for any creditors to submit their claims to the estate. It also may be advisable for an executor to withhold some funds as a precaution in the event another claim was to surface against the estate.

Listed below are some of the steps the executor should take before distributing the estate:

  • Set up Trust – If a trust is specified in the Will, the executor is responsible for setting up the trust.
  • Specific Bequests – Distribute specific bequests.
  • Create Informal Accounting – An informal accounting will be created which details all the assets marshaled, administration expenses, and the amount that is set to be distributed to each person according to the Will. This document will be sent to the beneficiaries listed in the Will.
  • Release and Receipts – The releases will release and indemnify the Executor from liability and agree to the amount being distributed to them according to the Will. It is important that release and receipts are received prior to distribution.
  • Disblank checktribution – Checks will be made out to the residuary beneficiaries or to any testamentary trust.

Listed in this series of blogs were very basic steps to having an executor appointed, marshal the assets, and distribute an estate. For more information, contact a knowledgeable probate and estate attorney.