Estate Planning and Trusts

Estate planning can have many facets depending on your family and health concerns, assets and taxes. Basic estate planning should

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Business Legal Services

Need advice on how to form a new business venture or draft an agreement between you and a partner?

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Probate & Additional Services

When a person passes away, a lawyer is often called in to handle the paperwork involved with settling an estate's assets.  

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2015 Estate Tax Planning

Year-End Estate and Gift Tax Planning Most people are familiar with income taxes – that bite taken out of your wages and investment earnings to fund the government. But did you know that what you pass to your heirs or beneficiaries can also be subject to another tax?  Yep, it’s true. The Federal Estate Tax gives each of us a whopping $5.43 million exemption. This means, for 2015, you can pass up to $5.43 million in assets tax-free. The limit is up $90,000 from 2014. While most of us will not pay estate taxes, the rate is 40% Read More

2015 Retirement Plan and Social Security News

Elective Contributions to IRAs, 401(k)s and Other Qualified Plans The IRS announced new limits for IRA, pension and other contributions for 2015.  Here are the highlights: The maximum limit for contributions to IRA’s remains at $5,500 for 2015. If you are age 50 or older, you can contribute a maximum of $6,500 for 2015, which remains unchanged from 2014. You can make contributions to your IRA for 2014 up until April 15, 2015. Elective deferral contribution limits to 401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) plans are increased to $18,000 for Read More

Tips to Avoid Probate in Westchester County, NY

Whether you have a will or not, probate will be required if assets you own don’t pass by operation of law. A Will Goes So Far If you have a will, you specify who gets what with respect to only certain assets. A will does not control everything. For example: If you own real estate in joint names, the surviving owner may get the property by virtue of the title on the deed. It doesn’t pass under your will. For IRA, pension and 401(k) assets, the person named on the designated beneficiary form inherits your account. If you Read More

Trust this Attorney in Westchester County for Your Family's Trust

The trust document spells out the rules of the road on how the property is to be held, managed and distributed. A trust document is also called a trust agreement, declaration of trust or a trust instrument. InterVivos or Testamentary/ Revocable or Not Trusts that are created under a will and do not come into being until you die, are referred to as “testamentary trusts.” Trusts created to be operative during your life, are called “inter vivos trusts.” These can be “revocable” or “irrevocable.” With a “revocable” Read More

Title, Not Possession, Is 9/10ths of the Law

But when it comes to “legal” ownership of property and assets, the law often spells out who owns what. It’s important to follow the rules to protect your rights, because for many things, possession isn’t 9/10ths of the law. Let’s look at some common examples: JOINTLY HELD REAL ESTATE Two sweethearts, Jane and John, pool their funds and buy a condo. They put Jane’s name on the deed (e.g. legal title) to avoid problems with potential business creditors of John. When Jane’s name is on the deed, she is the owner for legal Read More

Digital Assets in Your Estate Plan

Protecting Digital Assets As more and more people migrate their banking, purchases and private activities online, we become ripe for the taking by the unscrupulous. How can this impact my mother? Well let’s just follow yesterday’s headlines. Over 6 million linked in passwords were posted online in China, for others to hack through. Why does it matter who can get to our linked in persona? Well it’s not to access our work history and resumes. It’s the value in a linked in password that is likely the same as the password we use Read More

Planning for Highly Appreciated Assets

When you acquire property (real estate, investments, etc.), what you pay for property you acquire is known as your “cost basis” or investment in the property. It is this number that becomes important when you determine the tax on any gain, when the property is sold. The basis rules become very important in estate planning.  Here’s why:  If someone gives you property, you get that person’s basis in the property, which is known as a “carry over basis.” But if you inherit property, you get a basis equal to the property’s Read More

Changes to New York Estate and Gift Tax

Some Good News (for a change!) Until a few weeks ago, New Yorkers with a taxable estate of about a million dollars, would owe New York estate tax at rates rising to 16%.  However, as of April 1, 2014, New York estates can avoid tax on the first  $2,062,500, up from a base exclusion amount of $1 million per person, prior to April 1, 2014. For many clients, with assets over $1 million, but below the federal exclusion (presently $5.34 million), the New York tax could add up. With the change, a tax break has been afforded which can save Read More

2014 Income Tax Updates in Westchester County NY

All current tax rate brackets have increases for 2014. For 2014, the 39.6% rate affects couples with taxable incomes over $457,600 and single filers with taxable incomes over $406,750. The U.S. has a graduated tax system which means that the incremental portion of your taxable income, which falls in the bracket, is taxed at the rate beside it for 2014. (See following tax rate chart) Read More

2015 Estate Tax Planning

Year-End Estate and Gift Tax Planning Most people are familiar with income taxes – that bite taken out of your wages and investment earnings to fund the government. But did you know that what you pass to your heirs or beneficiaries can also be subject to another tax?  Yep, it’s true. The Federal Estate Tax gives each of us a whopping $5.43 million exemption. This means, for 2015, you can pass up to $5.43 million in assets tax-free. The limit is up $90,000 from 2014. While most of us will not pay estate taxes, the rate is 40% Read More

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