Estate Planning

Do I Need A Last Will and Testament?

Do I Need A Last Will and Testament?

A Last Will and Testament (“Will”) is one way that you can provide instructions for the distribution of your property after you die. So here are some tips to determine when a Will may be beneficial for you based on variety of life events.

The top 5 reasons you should create a Will

  1. When you want to override the Default Rules

If you do not have a Will, then New York state provides a set of rules for the distribution of your property. Essentially, if you are survived by a spouse, then the spouse gets the pot. If you are survived by a spouse and children, then your spouse gets the first $50,000 and then shares the rest with the kids. Click here for the complete set of rules.  You may want to create a Will if you want to give your spouse everything or disinherit completely and provide nothing.

  1. When you want to ensure that your non-biological child will receive a share.

New York states treats adopted children, non-marital children, posthumously conceived children, step-children, and foster children differently. Click here for explanations of how each type of non-biological child is treated. You may want to create a Will if you are concerned about the inheritance rights of your non-biological child after your death.

Last Will and Testament

  1. When you want to make charitable bequests.

New York state law does not provide for any automatic gifts to charity. If you want to make a charitable donation, then you will need a Will.

  1. When you have minor children.

You can use your Will as an opportunity to nominate who could be the guardian of your minor child or the trustee of a testamentary trust established under your will. Click here for more information on who can be an appropriate fiduciary.

  1. When you want to maintain control after your death through use of trusts.

If you are concerned about vesting complete control in your heirs, then you can continue to maintain control through the use of trusts established under your will.Just remember one thing – if you do create a Will, be wary of leaving it in your safe deposit box!

Additional resources provided by the author

For more information, please contact estate planning attorney Regina Kiperman:
Phone: 917-261-4514
Email: rkiperman@gylawny.com
Or visit her at her new location:
Grimaldi & Yeung LLP
80 Maiden Lane
Suite 304
New York, NY 10038

Visit Regina on Google+

This post is made available by the lawyer for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the lawyer. The post should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.

What to do if you Receive a Waiver of Process

What to do if you Receive a Waiver of Process

Jack comes home from a long day of work, having spent 20 minutes stuck on the R train due to signal problems. In his mailbox, Jack finds a letter from his sister, Emma. Emma is handling their mother’s estate and sent Jack a document called a “Waiver of Process; Consent to Probate.”

Waiver and Consent

Do I sign this?

Jack stares at the document for a few minutes, then throws it on the table, wondering if his day will get any worse or any more confusing. Should he sign a “Waiver of Process and Consent to Probate / Administration” or appear at the return date of a “Citation”?

A Waiver of Process; Consent to Probate is a form that gets sent out to the distributees, or, necessary parties, to a Probate proceeding.  The purpose of the form is twofold.

  1. The first purpose is to help the Court acquire jurisdiction over all of the parties. By signing the form, Jack is advising the Court that he is agreeing to have the Court make decisions that will have a binding affect on Jack. For example, where there is a Will, Jack is consenting to the Court reviewing the documents and accepting the Will to Probate. Where there is no Will, Jack is consenting to the Court reviewing the documents and appointing somebody to manage a decedent’s estate.
  2. The second purpose of the form is to advise the Court that Jack is consenting to a specific person being named the Executor (where there is a Will), or Administrator (where there is no Will). In this case, in signing the form, Jack is advising the Court that he is consenting to Emma’s appointment as the fiduciary.

The main questions that you should ask yourself before signing this form are:

  1. Am I objecting to the admission of the Will to probate? If the answer is yes, do not sign the form.
  2. Am I objecting to the person seeking to become the Executor/Administrator. If the answer is yes, do not sign the form.
  3. Do I want to be the Administrator (in cases where there is no Will)? If the answer is yes and if you are eligible to serve, then do not sign the form. For more information on whether you are eligible to serve, click here.

If Jack signs the Form, then there is nothing more for him to do. He does not have to appear in Court. Note that by signing the form, Jack has not waived his inheritance.

If Jack does not sign the Form, then the Court will need to issue a Citation. A Citation also serves two purposes. The first purpose is to acquire jurisdiction over Jack. The second purpose is for the Court to provide a date and time for Jack to appear and advise the Court of any issues that Jack has about the process.

Additional resources provided by the author

For more information, please contact estate planning attorney Regina Kiperman:
Phone: 917-261-4514
Email: rkiperman@gylawny.com
Or visit her at her new location:
Grimaldi & Yeung LLP
80 Maiden Lane
Suite 304
New York, NY 10038

Visit Regina on Google+

This post is made available by the lawyer for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the lawyer. The post should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.

Look Who’s Talking: A Book Talk by Joanne Seminara, Esq.

Look Who’s Talking: A Book Talk by Joanne Seminara, Esq.

Meet Joanne Seminara, Esq.
Saturday, May 13th, 2017
2:30 PM
Fort Hamilton Library
9424 4th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11209

Ms. Seminara, a Co-Author of 5@55: The 5 Essential Legal Documents You Need by Age 55”, will provide advice about Wills, Health Care Proxies, Living Wills, Powers of Attorney, Digital Diaries and the protections each of these documents provide. 

 

GRIMALDI & YEUNG LLP:
Phone: 718-238-6960
Brooklyn and Manhattan Offices:

9201 4th Ave, 6th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11209

546 Fifth Avenue, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10036

80 Maiden Lane, Suite 304
New York, NY 10038
917-261-4514

This post is made available by the lawyer for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the lawyer. The post should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.

Your “Digital Diary” is an Indispensable New Tool in Your Estate Plan

Your “Digital Diary” is an Indispensable New Tool in Your Estate Plan

All of us spend increasingly more and more time on computers, smart phones and on multiple online sites where we communicate with our family, friends and work colleagues.  Perhaps you shop, pay bills, bank, manage investments, create and share information, photos, images and music, and enjoy other recreational pursuits online.  All of these communications, contacts and accounts, and even the fact that you use these sites, make up your digital life and are your “Digital Assets.” And it can be a great tool to help with your Estate Planning.
The following information comes from the book “5@55: The 5 Essential Legal Documents You Need by the Age of 55″, written by Grimaldi & Yeung Partners Judith D. Grimaldi and Joanne Seminara.

These Digital Assets may be saved blogs and photos, frequent flier credits and other items of value, such as domain names that could have monetary value.  Digital assets, such as photos, have sentimental value and historic family records may be even more important to you and your loved ones, especially in the event of sudden death.

Therefore, you need to provide a way for these assets to be catalogued, accessed, managed, protected, “given” to others and/or deleted if you die or become disabled.

Your Will and/or Trust and Power of Attorney needs to contain special language which gives your Executor and/or Trustee and the agent named in your Power of Attorney access to your Digital Assets. Without this special access language, these persons who are your agents may not have access.  That is because Digital Assets are subject to the Term of Service (TOS) Agreements the providers of these sites (i.e. Facebook, Google, American Airlines, LinkedIn, etc.) impose on all users.  Remember that box you are forced to check when you “log in” to a new site, stating that you agree to certain terms and conditions of use? These TOS agreements can restrict access to your Digital Assets by others, even if they are named as an Executor in your Will or your Power of Attorney agent. The special language provided in the documents our firm prepares for you, allows for this access by persons you have chosen and can override these site restrictions.

We have provided you with a copy of a “Digital Diary” booklet for your use as a way to provide your trusted agents with complete and updated information about the electronic sites you now use or will use in the future.  We urge to fill in and regularly update this easily amendable Digital Diary. The Diary can catalogue all of your electronic sites, listing each site’s user name and password for you and your trusted agent, Executor or Trustee. They will be able to access the information on these sites if you become disabled or die.

This Digital Diary may be accessed as a downloadable, fillable form on our website at www.gylawny.com.  We suggest that you download it, fill it in and amend it every time there is a change in your online sites or information needed to “log in” to each site.  Print, and as needed, replace a paper copy of this Digital Diary and retainer it in a safe location known to one or more of your trusted agents, and perhaps a spouse, partner, child or friend. The information in your Digital Diary should not exist solely on your computer.   If you bank on-line it is important that your agent or fiduciary know about the existence of your bank accounts or other monetary assets so that these assets may be used (as needed) to pay bills, and to avoid interest and penalties.

Please think of the Digital Diary as a starting point for creating your own unique catalogue of your electronic information.  If the Grimaldi & Yeung Digital Diary does not meet all your needs, we encourage you to tailor it by adding categories of online sites or information that may be particular to you.  For example, if a site requires you to answer security questions when you log in, you may wish to add the answers to these questions to your Digital Diary.  If you trade in Bitcoin or are involved in certain types of on-line activity for business or entertainment you may need to add more information to your Digital Diary.

We will not retain a copy of your Digital Diary in our files and you do not need to provide us with a copy of same.  We urge you to safeguard your Digital Diary as you would any other precious asset so that it does not come into the wrong hands and create a risk of fraud or identity theft.

Please Note and Consider:

  • Several on-line sites allow you to designate a person to access your account by registering that person with the provider. You can provide the on-line provider with specific directions regarding the identity of persons who are allowed to control your on-line presence. You may also be able to provide additional directions regarding the access to your account. This registration of a person for access or control will override any designation provided in your Will, Trust or Power of Attorney.
  • If you become disabled or die and an on-line account becomes dormant because its existence is unknown to your agent or fiduciary or he/she is unable to access it, this account may be vulnerable to identity theft.
  • If an Executor or agent is unaware of a bank account because he or she finds no paper record of said account, the funds in the account may be unknowingly lost and sent to New York State to be held as “unclaimed funds.”

Contact us at Grimaldi & Yeung LLP with your questions and ask for your free copy of the Digital Diary or download it now at www.gylawny.com. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you safeguard your digital life.

Additional resources provided by the authors, Judith D. Grimaldi & Joanne Seminara

GRIMALDI & YEUNG LLP:
Phone: 718-238-6960
Brooklyn and Manhattan Offices:

9201 4th Ave, 6th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11209

546 Fifth Avenue, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10036

80 Maiden Lane, Suite 304
New York, NY 10038
917-261-4514

This post is made available by the lawyer for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the lawyer. The post should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.

Elder Care Planning – As Your Family Member Ages – Your Family Can Plan

Elder Care Planning – As Your Family Member Ages – Your Family Can Plan

As your family member ages, health issues such as memory loss and lack of energy may emerge. Financial and debt can become more difficult. If your family member is beginning to experience a slowing down, here are some key warning signs they may now need you to begin elder care planning:

  1. Memory loss or dementia can lead to financial responsibilities being neglected. Watch for unusual spending patterns, not remembering which bills have been and have not been paid or overdraft/late fees. An inability to stay on top of routine banking is a first sign of mental slippage or possible cognitive issues. Unfortunately, scammers feed off of this pattern and may target your elderly family member, and steal from them.
  2. Start early and ask about your family member’s financial plan while they have the ability and desire to communicate effectively. Any preparations you can complete before will help, thus a good starting point is to review your family member’s financial situation, and create a plan.
  3. Designate one trusted individual to take charge of financial matters when needed. The choice should be as unanimous as possible. The goal is to ensure bills are paid on time, taxes are completed and the overall finances are up-to-date. Family transparency is crucial to make this work. The standard is always in the elder’s best interest.
  4. Ensure each asset is properly titled and has the beneficiary of your family member’s choosing, clearly designated. Suggest a meeting with a qualified attorney to make sure updates and changes have been made reflecting final wishes. A Trust may be the best comprehensive solution to holding assets.
  5. Establish automatic bill pay of routine household bills wherever possible. As memory loss persists, having automatic bill pay will ease stress and ensure debts are paid. Automatic drafts also leave a paper trail which can help you maintain order.
  6. If your family member is still financially independent, remind them often of money-related scams. Demonstrate how they can protect themselves from fraud. Give them examples and tips on how to resolve any potential risks.

Take time to talk with your parents about a plan of action regarding caregiving and financial matters. This will alleviate stress related to these issues. If you want help in getting these conversations on elder care planning started, please feel free to call Grimaldi & Yeung LLP at (718) 238-6960, and we can help begin your family member’s life plan.

The source of this article is from “Life Care Planning Today” by April Hill, Esq.

GRIMALDI & YEUNG LLP:
Phone: 718-238-6960
Brooklyn and Manhattan Offices:

9201 4th Ave, 6th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11209

546 Fifth Avenue, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10036

80 Maiden Lane, Suite 304
New York, NY 10038
917-261-4514

This post is made available by the lawyer for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the lawyer. The post should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.

Owed Money from a Dead Person? File a Claim Against the Estate

Owed Money from a Dead Person? File a Claim Against the Estate

Are you owed money from a dead person? The example below explains the law around filing claims against an estate.

Harry and Jesse were friends for many years. During the last year of Jesse’s life, Harry spent a small fortune taking care of Jesse. Harry paid for Jesse’s home care aides, bought Jesse food, paid for Jesse’s travel to and from the doctors, and even paid for a portion of the funeral. After Jesse died, Harry added up the expenses and saw that he had spent well over thirty thousand ($30,000) dollars on his good friend. Could he be reimbursed for his expenses, he wondered?

Article 18 of the New York Surrogate’s Court Procedures Act allows for a creditor to be reimbursed for debts and funeral expenses.

The claim should be in writing, contain a statement of the amount of money due and contain a statement of what the money was used for. The creditor should also include a sentence indicating that they have not been paid for any portion of the claim that they are presenting.

The claim should be presented to the fiduciary of the estate within seven months after the appointment of a fiduciary (executor, administrator, temporary administration, or preliminary executor). The statute requires that the claim be presented either personally (hand delivered) or sent by certified mail, return receipt requested to the address that the fiduciary provided to the court when he applied to become a fiduciary.

Once the claim has been properly presented, the fiduciary has 90 days to accept or reject the claim. If the fiduciary accepts the claim, then the fiduciary will pay the creditor, usually at the time of settlement of the estate. If you don’t hear from the fiduciary within 90 days, then you can assume that the claim has been rejected.

If the fiduciary rejects your claim, you can ask the Court to determine the validity of your claim. You would file an Order to Show Cause and a Petition and ask the Court to order the fiduciary to pay the claim. The Court would decide the claim as part of the accounting proceeding.

Summarily, Harry can seek reimbursement for his expenses and should follow the procedures outlined in Article 18.

Additional resources provided by the author

For more information, please contact estate planning attorney Regina Kiperman:
Phone: 917-261-4514
Email: rkiperman@gylawny.com
Or visit her at her new location:
Grimaldi & Yeung LLP
80 Maiden Lane
Suite 304
New York, NY 10038

This post is made available by the lawyer for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the lawyer. The post should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.