What are non-probate assets and how to recover them?  

estate assets document

When a person passes away, their estate is often comprised of probate assets and non-probate assets.  Probate assets are assets that will be distributed according to the decedent’s Last Will & Testament.  These assets are titled solely in the decedent’s name. Non-probate assets are sometimes called testamentary substitutes.  These assets have beneficiaries associated with the […]

What is an Ancillary Probate or Ancillary Administration Proceeding?

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When a person passes away with real property in multiple states, an ancillary proceeding may be necessary. The primary probate proceeding (if the person passed away with a Last Will & Testament) or primary administration proceeding (if the person passed away without a Last Will & Testament) is commenced in the State and County where […]

Joint Ownership of Real Property- Different Ways Real Property can be Titled

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Title to real property can be held in three different ways; tenants by the entirety, tenants in common, and joint tenants with rights of survivorship. Tenants by the entirety- the property is owned by a married couple.  The deed will usually state the parties as husband wife. For example the deed would say “John Doe […]

What is a Statutory Gifts Rider & Why is it Needed?

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The Statutory Gifts Rider or SGR, is a modification to a power of attorney that allows the agent to give gifts.  Without the Statutory Gifts Rider the agent under a power of attorney is only allowed to give gifts totaling $500 for the year for personal and family maintenance. The Statutory Gifts Rider may be […]

What is a Testamentary Trust?

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Simply put, a testamentary trust is a trust that is written into a Last Will & Testament.  The trust does not come into existence until the Will is probated. Testamentary trusts can be created for a variety of reasons.  Here are a few reasons a person might want to set up a testamentary trust in […]

Key Parties to a Trust

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  This article will focus on some of the key parties to a trust.  There are generally three parties to a trust; the grantor, trustee, and beneficiaries. The Grantor or Settlor is the person that creates the trust.  This person will discuss with their attorney their wishes for the trust and the terms that will […]

What is a Step-Up in Basis?

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  One of biggest gifts given to estate planners is given to us through the Internal Revenue code.   IRC §1014 is the rule that says a beneficiary receives the basis of the decedent at the time of their death.  Step up in basis is best explained through an example. Daredevil Dan Example #1: Daredevil Dan […]

What documents should be part of a basic Estate Plan?

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A basic estate plan involves planning for two things; a person’s demise and their incapacity. A Person’s Demise “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”- Benjamin Franklin.  Unfortunately, we all only have a limited time on this earth. Estate planning details how you would like your property to […]

What does the New York Jets all time sack leader have to do with Elder Law?

Mark Gastineau on stage

Recently Mark Gastineau, the New York Jets all time sack leader, told the public that he was diagnosed with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is an awful disease that affects the brain and destroys memories and other important mental functions.  He may not be able to recall family members or how to […]

Why Every Young Family Should Have an Estate Plan!

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When people think of estate planning, they usually think of the elderly or people in white clothes playing tennis on their massive estates in the Hamptons. Both the elderly and the super wealthy need estate plans, but so does everyone, especially parents with young children.  Estate planning consists of planning for two events, death (morbid, […]