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Maximizing an Heir’s Inheritance

Estate planning isn’t exactly an entertaining and jovial topic , but it is absolutely necessary that we all take the subject seriously before the untimely event of a degenerative disease. Just like you’re planning for retirement, you need to plan for the inevitable. Estate Planning will require the expertise of an elder law attorney. The attorneys at the law offices of Castiglia-Rubinstein & Associates are not only trained in handling simple estate probate matters, we take care of complex estate litigation in the event of a probate contest or fraud in Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens County, Bronx, Westchester, Richmond County Staten Island, Manhattan and Brooklyn Kings County New York.

Trust vs WillsRemoval of a Trustee * Guardianship * Probate * Beneficiary Rights
Medicaid Asset Protection * Probate Litigation * Estate Litigation * Living Trusts
In Home Care * Supplemental Needs Trusts  * Fraudulent Transfers

But then there are a few important questions many of us don’t think about. They’re the often overlooked issues of estate planning that could make all the difference for your relatives and heirs after you pass. When you’re putting a plan in place to help protect your loved ones, be sure to ask yourself:

  1. How well does my spouse know our financial advisor? If you’re the one in charge of dealing with your family’s finances; Is it possible your spouse hasn’t even met your financial advisor? Or, they may have met for five minutes to catch some signatures early on in the client-advisor relationship. Consequently, if you’re the first one to pass away, your spouse would be reliant on somebody that they barely know during an extremely difficult time. Since your financial advisor is likely involved with everything from your brokerage account investments to life insurance to individual retirement accounts, and possibly even more, this is someone your spouse should get to know and you should have complete faith and trust in that this person will take care of your family in their time of need.
    If your answer to this question is “Not very well,” make an appointment for a financial review and bring your spouse along as well. Ask your advisor to walk through your complete financial picture so that everyone, including your spouse, can establish a good level of comfort. Your financial plan should work with your legal plan; make sure that your elder law attorney is aware of your financial plan so that it can work in conjunction with your estate plan.
  2. Does my spouse know where all our accounts are located and how to access them? The surviving spouse will need to access money immediately to cover funeral expenses. There may also be hospital bills, and, of course, all of the normal expenses that come with everyday life. Your spouse won’t have time to search high and low trying to figure out where the accounts are located or how they can access money. If you can’t answer “yes” to this question, you need to make sure your loved ones know where to find this information so as to avoid unnecessary confusion later.
    Walk through all of your financial accounts with your spouse so he or she comfortably understands how to withdraw funds as needed. It’s also helpful to leave a few lists in a safe but easily accessible place:

    • A password list for all your online accounts and memberships.
    • A list of all your accounts and memberships – both online and offline – along with any necessary instructions.
    • A list of your estate planning documents and their location.
    • A list of all lawyers, financial planners, accountants and others who helped you create an estate plan, including contact information
  3. This should really be the first question. Is your estate plan in place? Do you have a Will? Do you have a Living? Do you have a long term and short term Medicaid Plan? Are all of your beneficiary designations up-to-date? It is probable that these questions have reminded you of some changes you haven’t yet had a chance to make. Those considerations aside, life events such as births, deaths, marriages, divorces, the unset of sickness and job changes could mean that you’ll need to update your Estate Plan, Living Trust and Will, and probably your account beneficiaries. And in the event of that your family goes through probate that will place a whole new level of strain on an already hard time.
    When it comes to passing wealth, don’t assume your will is enough. Plenty of assets might not be covered by your Will. Check with an estate planning attorney. The lawyers at Castiglia-Rubinstein and associates can help you and your family put together an appropriate estate plan to protect your family. Have your accounts reviewed to make sure that your assets will pass to the proper heirs.
    Don’t let the government decide who will inherit your:

    • Retirement plan accounts like 401(k) and IRAs
    • TSA Accounts and 403b
    • Life insurance
    • Annuities
    • Stocks
    • Bonds
    • Brokerage Accounts
    • Checking Accounts
    • Savings Accounts
    • CD’s

    You might not like thinking about it, but there’s no way around it. No one lives forever. Our mortality might be out of our control, but you can take charge of the situation by putting a plan in place to help protect your loved ones. This list of questions may not be all-inclusive, but they’re a good start toward to make sure that your finances is not just one more thing for your spouse and family to stress out over in their time of need and grief.

Getting the Biggest Bang for Your Inherited Property Buck

Inheriting money or property sounds great, right?
Not always. Sometimes heirs who aren’t money-savvy wind up blowing all their money in the bank by coming into money and getting used to a more lavish lifestyle that could get them into financial trouble. In other cases, an unequal inheritance may create rifts between relatives or trigger guilt in someone who hadn’t expected a large windfall.
The best way to avoid most of these inheritance issues is for the benefactor to do proper estate planning while he or she is still alive, perhaps setting up trusts instead of leaving lump sums or discussing intentions with heirs to prepare them. But most people don’t like to dwell on their own mortality, and that is the reason why most estate can end up disastrous.

Call Today 1-800-960-1529
Trust vs WillsRemoval of a Trustee * Guardianship * Probate * Beneficiary Rights
Medicaid Asset Protection * Probate Litigation * Estate Litigation * Living Trusts
In Home Care * Supplemental Needs Trusts  * Fraudulent Transfers

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