Online Tools Can Ease the Burden of Being Executor of an Estate – The New York Times

Being named the executor of a family member’s estate can be overwhelming: At at time when you’re grieving, you’re called on to handle a host of unfamiliar administrative duties.

Daniel Stickel learned that firsthand when his father died in 2013. Mr. Stickel has worked as a software executive for companies including Google. But he found himself challenged by the many tasks required of him as executor of his father’s estate. Executors are charged with settling the deceased person’s affairs, including paying

Source: Online Tools Can Ease the Burden of Being Executor of an Estate – The New York Times

How To Do Estate Planning On The Cheap (Forbes)

Yes, it can be painful to pay for estate planning. Lawyers charge a lot. The benefits of a plan are delayed, and you don’t live to see them anyway. Who wants to spend big bucks on a plan when times are so tough and the federal estate tax is in flux? Fewer and fewer Americans, it seems. Only 35% had a will in 2009, and only about half had any estate-planning documents at all–a will, a trust or a financial or medical power of attorney, according to a survey by Lawyers.com. That’s a drop from previous years.

Source: How To Do Estate Planning On The Cheap

TRANSFER TAX CONVEYANCES PURSUANT TO DIVORCE DECREE OR SEPARATION

Conveyances for no consideration made between spouses are a common occurrence. Such conveyances may be made for a host of purposes, such as the making of a gift, estate planning, and loan eligibility.

In all of these instances, no money is being exchanged. The transfer is without consideration and is not in connection with a sale. As a consequence, gift transfers or transfers made without consideration are not subject to transfer tax. Both the NYS real estate transfer tax return (TP-584) and the NYC RPT real property tax return (NYC-RPT) list no consideration transfers among the types of conveyances that are exempt from transfer tax.

But what of conveyances made pursuant to divorce decree or separation agreement? In such instances, no money is being exchanged. Is the transfer without consideration and not in connection with a sale?

At first glance, one might assume that because no money is actually being paid, the conveyance is without consideration and not in connection with a sale. Schedule I of the NYC-RPT addresses this issue. It asks for four pieces of information: the fair market value, the existence of any unpaid mortgages, the percentage of ownership interest being transferred to the other spouse, and any alternate value assigned to the transferred interest that is recited in the settlement agreement, separation agreement or divorce decree. The basis for taxation is found in Section 23-03(d)(3) of Title 19 of the Rules of the City of New York (“RCNY”). This section states that “a conveyance of realty from one spouse to the other pursuant to the terms of a separation agreement” is subject to tax.

Read entire article here: TRANSFER TAX CONVEYANCES PURSUANT TO DIVORCE DECREE OR SEPARATION

Review your estate plan against this 14-point checklist – MarketWatch

Many Americans have estate plans in place — but unfortunately, many are incomplete and the most important subjects aren’t even addressed.

Source: Review your estate plan against this 14-point checklist – MarketWatch

How to Make a Claim Against the Estate of a New York Decedent

In New York, the Executor or Administrator of an estate is obligated to address all claims presented within the prescribed time frame and in the form set forth by law. Failure to comply with the requirements of Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act (SCPA) §1802 and §1803 may be disastrous to the creditor. You are a creditor of an estate, if a decedent owed you money (debts) while he or she was alive. Examples of debts include: personal loans, credit card debt, bank loans, unpaid fees for services, medical bills, auto loans, rents, etc.

If you have a valid claim against a decedent, you must follow the procedures prescribed by law.

via How to Make a Claim Against the Estate of a New York Decedent.

Understanding the Law: What Happens to Debts When You Die?

Everyone who creates an estate plan is considering what assets that they want to pass on to their heirs when they die. However, many do not consider what happens to your debts when you pass away. Whether or not your loved ones will be responsible for your debts depends on your estate and the types of debts that you leave behind.

via Understanding the Law: What Happens to Debts When You Die?.

‘I Don’t Have An Estate. Why Do I Need An Estate Plan?’

When I would tell people that I was working on a book about estate planning, many of them looked at me quizzically because they weren’t sure what I meant. Others said, “Oh, that’s not something I need, because I don’t have an estate.”

Contrary to popular misconception, you don’t have to own a big house to have an estate. Your estate consists of everything you own when you die, including your home, personal property, investments, bank accounts, retirement plans and any interests in a family business or partnership. Beneficiary designation forms control who gets retirement accounts, along with life insurance proceeds. For most other assets, you need a will or living trust that says who gets your stuff.

If you die without a will or living trust (“intestate,” in legalese), state law will determine how most of your belongings are distributed, and the result may not be what you would want. These laws establish a ranking of inheritors. Some newer laws say everything will go first to the spouse, then to children, parents and siblings.

via ‘I Don’t Have An Estate. Why Do I Need An Estate Plan?’.

What’s your retirement IQ? For most, it’s lousy

In survey after survey, Americans have not scored well on retirement literacy tests. But a new survey of Americans ages 60 to 75 says 80% failed a retirement income literacy test.

The results of the poll, released today by the American College of Financial Services in Bryn Mawr, Pa., are pretty dismal. The poll was conducted through online interviews of 1,019 people 60 to 75 years old with at least $100,000 in household assets.

They were asked 38 retirement literacy questions on basics, such as Social Security, life expectancy, IRAs, life insurance and investments, and how bonds work. Only 2 in 10 had passing grades, the college said.

“We’re not surprised by the fact that people don’t know a lot about retirement income planning,” says David Littell, program director at the American College. “I was surprised at how badly they did.”

via What’s your retirement IQ? For most, it’s lousy.

Transferring Real Property to a Living Trust

Ownership of real property i.e., land and the buildings affixed to the land is generally evidenced by a deed, which is generally recorded on the land records in the city or town in which the property is located. When a grantor wishes to transfer real property to a living trust, a deed is prepared that names the trustee as the grantee of the property. While most transfers of real property are relatively straight-forward, there are some issues that should be given special consideration.

read the rest of the article here: Transferring Real Property to a Living Trust.

New York State Significantly Changes its Estate and Gift Tax Regimes | Wealth Planning content from WealthManagement.com

On March 31, 2014, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation to implement the New York State fiscal plan for 2014 – 2015. The legislation makes broad changes to the New York State (NY) estate and gift tax laws, as well as some more technical changes to certain trust income tax rules. These broad changes may warrant the re-evaluation of estate plans currently in place.

read more here:  New York State Significantly Changes its Estate and Gift Tax Regimes | Wealth Planning content from WealthManagement.com.