Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP is pleased to announce the expansion of the firm's White Plains office. The 1,000 square foot addition will allow the firm to meet the growing demand for elder law services in Westchester County and better enable the firm to provide educational seminars to seniors, caregivers and the practicing bar.
For several decades I have been advocating the importance of executing a General Durable Broad Power of Attorney that allows one's nominated agent(s) to do virtually all that the principal of the Power of Attorney could do. This includes executing an expanded version of the New York Statutory Gifts Rider, granting broad gifting powers to the agent(s) in the event of one's incapacity or illness.
Fearing a continued exodus of affluent New Yorkers to states that do not impose a state estate tax, the State of New York has finally enacted significant changes to N.Y. Tax Law Section 952.
Although formulating an estate and long term care plan is an important step towards financial security, many people fail to have even the most basic plan and advanced directives. One potential hurdle is a fear of putting together a poor plan. Having a basic understanding of these common mistakes can help reduce the risk of making some unfortunate errors. The following are examples of the most common errors made:
Taking the time to formulate an estate plan can often seem like a daunting process. This is particularly true for the single parent. The single parent is likely struggling to balance the demands of taking care of the children, home and working a job outside of the home. With these struggles the mere thought of adding anything to their to-do list may seem overwhelming. However, taking the time to develop an estate plan will likely ease some stress since the plan can help ensure that their children are provided for according to their wishes in the event of their demise. Some of the most valuable steps to consider implementing are:
When recommending the purchase of long-term care insurance ("LTCI") to my clients, the most often heard response has historically been, "I don't want to have to pay the premiums for the rest of my life." For many 55 to 70 year olds, a potentially lengthy premium payment period is a psychological obstacle they are unable to overcome in making the decision to purchase LTCI.
One question I am often asked is how to contest (or challenge) a last will & testament. While challenging a last will is not something to be done lightly, there are specific instances in which a will contest would be appropriate. In order for a last will to be deemed valid and legally enforceable in New York State, it must first be admitted into probate by the Surrogate's Court where the deceased resided. Once this process begins, individuals with a pecuniary interest (those who stand benefit monetarily from the last will) have the opportunity to formally challenge the document's validity. This includes named beneficiaries in a previous will and/or heirs at law. Once it has been established that an individual does have a pecuniary interest, he or she may formally challenge the last will by filing an objection with the Surrogate's Court. In New York, the grounds for objecting to the admission of the last will & testament to probate are:
My clients are always asking me which is better - an Irrevocable Trust or a Revocable Living Trust. Much to their dismay, the answer is that one is not better than the other. Irrevocable and Revocable Trusts are excellent estate and elder law planning tools that, depending on your objectives, can both be of significant value when used as part of your planning.
When meeting with a client and his or her family, one of the first inquiries I make is to determine whether or not he or she has previously executed a durable general power of attorney (POA) and, if so, what provisions it contains. Since a POA is, like many legal documents, a standardized form created by statute, the natural tendency is to assume that they are all the same and contain identical provisions. This, however, is often an incorrect and dangerous assumption.
One question I am often asked is the difference between a Last Will & Testament and a Revocable Living Trust. While many simply default to a Last Will as their primary estate planning document, the Revocable Living Trust has been gaining significantly in popularity over the past several years. Here are the basics on both: