Estate Planning

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.

So You Need Immediate Access to Decedent’s Assets…

So You Need Immediate Access to Decedent’s Assets…

Your parent died in the middle of winter. Your parent rented out the upstairs portion of their home. The tenant called and said the heater blew and he is withholding rent. Your parents financial advisor just called and said that he needs access to sell some of the portfolio holdings to mitigate loss. And to make matters worse, you just found out that you may have a half-brother, who may be entitled to a portion of the estate.

You are not sure which problem you want to tackle first. But all three problems boil down to the same issue – you need Immediate Access to Decedent’s Assets and make some basic, important, and expeditious decisions on behalf of the decedent.

The solution: Preliminary Letters Testamentary (for when the decedent died with a will) or Temporary Letters of Administration (for when the decedent died without a will).

New York Surrogate’s Court Procedures Act (“SCPA”) Section 1412 allows the fiduciary named in the Decedent’s Will to petition the Court for immediate authority to handle the Decedent’s affairs. Similarly SCPA 901 allows an interested party to petition the Court for immediate authority to handle the Decedent’s affairs.

The Decedent’s fiduciary (be it person named in Will or next of kin who will be handling Decedent’s affairs) should petition the Court and request immediate access. The fiduciary will need to provide a short explanation of why immediate access is necessary, be it to pay bills, have authority to commence an eviction proceeding, have authority to make financial decisions, safeguard property, or repair property. While the fiduciary may have immediate access to funds to ensure the safekeeping of the property and proper administration of the estate, the fiduciary may not distribute any assets to satisfy a legacy or bequest until full letters are issued.

Although the Court may grant immediate access to Decedent’s assets, the Court may also impose limitations. For example, although the Court may allow a fiduciary to pay the bills of the estate, the Court may also limit how much of the assets the fiduciary may collect. The Court may also request that the Fiduciary post a bond as a way to safeguard assets for the rest of the Decedent’s heirs. For example, when the estate may be contested, the Court may want to ensure that Decedent’s assets are protected. (Certain counties, such as Queens, may request that you pay a fee for the filing of the bond.)

Preliminary Letters or Temporary letters are usually valid for 6 months at a time so the fiduciary will need to act quickly and renew if necessary.

In short – yes – immediate access is possible but, with restrictions.

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.

February 14th Sweetheart Engagement: Partner Joanne Seminara to speak at AARP Bay Ridge Chapter 3630

February 14th Sweetheart Engagement: Partner Joanne Seminara to speak at AARP Bay Ridge Chapter 3630

This Valentine’s Day, Grimaldi & Yeung LLP Partner Joanne Seminara, Esq. will speak at the Bay Ridge AARP Chapter on the topic of Elder Law and Estate Planning.

When
Tuesday, February 14, 2:30pm

Where
Shore Hill Community Center
9000 Shore Rd, Brooklyn, NY 11209
(91st Street between Shore Road & Colonial Road)

Topic
Elder Law, Estate Planning

Joanne Seminara, Esq.
Partner
GRIMALDI & YEUNG LLP
9201 Fourth Avenue, 6th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11209
Tel:   718-238-6960
Fax:  718-238-3091
jseminara@gylawny.com