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Category Archives: Estate Planning

Five Ways the American Tax Relief Act of 2012 May Affect Your Estate

The American Tax Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA), which took effect earlier this year, contains a number of provisions that may affect your estate plan. Following are highlights of five of the ATRA’s most significant changes: The tax rate. The federal estate and gift tax rate is now capped at 40 percent. The exemption. Years… Read More »

Planning the Right Gift

There are many ways of making gifts to family members and to charities and, if the gift is done right, you may be able to avoid taxes. Here are just a few ideas to discuss with your estate planning attorney: Annual exclusion gifts There is no gift tax on gifts that do not exceed a… Read More »

The Roman Blum Estate: Who Will Have the Last Laugh?

New York real estate developer Roman Blum was a Holocaust survivor, whose first wife and son died in the war. His second wife, who passed away in 1992, was infertile as a result of Joseph Mengele’s medical experiments in the concentration camps. Roman Blum died alone and childless. He also died with an estate of… Read More »

Making Sure That Your Last Will And Testament Is a Valid

While most people care about leaving their family in the best financial shape possible, only half of all Americans have a will. Gallup polls suggest the older a person gets the more likely they will have a will or other estate plan. In fact, more than 70% of Americans ages 50 or older have a… Read More »

A Troubled Child and Your Estate Plan

According to a 2011 Columbia University study, 46 percent of American high school students use alcohol or drugs (approximately six million teenagers), and that almost all those suffering from substance abuse addictions started using before they reached their 18th birthday. Parents are often at a loss when dealing with a teen or adult heir who… Read More »

What Happens to Your Business When You Are No Longer There to Run it?

When George Steinbrenner died in July 2010, his most famous asset — the New York Yankees — was left in the care of his two sons Hal and Hank. Many Yankee fans wondered how this might affect baseball’s most successful franchise and whether or not the team would be sold. It turned out that while… Read More »

The Young and the Smart Plan Ahead

Mark Zuckerberg is probably the most well known of the world’s 29 billionaires under the age of 40. He and his college roommates originally developed and launched a social media company, Facebook, while they were still at Harvard.  Facebook took off so quickly that Zuckerberg became a billionaire in 2007 when he was just 23 years… Read More »

Does a Will Have to be in Writing and Witnessed?

As a general rule, a will must be in writing and properly witnessed to be valid in New York. You should assume that this is the sort of will you will need to make to ensure that your property is disposed of as you wish. Unlike many states, New York does not generally recognize handwritten,… Read More »

Can My Ex-Spouse Get Any of My Estate?

Important life events — like births, deaths, marriage and divorce — are a good time to revisit your estate plan. (Or make a plan for the first time!) Sometimes, however, a divorced person dies without ever having changed the will that left most or all of their estate to someone they are no longer in… Read More »

What Happens if I Leave My Spouse Out of My Will?

For a variety of reasons, you may not want to leave your spouse anything from your estate when you die. For example, you might wish to give all of your property to your children or a charitable cause, and your spouse might have adequate assets of their own. A spouse is also sometimes omitted from… Read More »