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April 2011 Archives

Is Your Life Insurance Subject To Federal Estate Taxes?

Many New York estate planning lawyers will often encourage their clients to maintain enough life insurance when dealing with personal finances, but some people may salso not realize that they can actually collect life insurance without having their proceeds subject to taxes.

Most individuals decide to get life insurance to replace income they could potentially lose in the event they die prematurely. Policy beneficiaries can typically receive life insurance death benefit payments without any federal income taxes and, in most instances, even state income taxes. But can New Yorkers avoid federal estate taxes on their life insurance too?

Joseph Flom Gives Most Of His Estate To Charity

As some New York locals may have heard, well-known former attorney Joseph Flom, who was the last living named partner of the firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, & Flom, passed away in February at the age of 87. Flom's estate is calculated "to be in the low nine figures," although much of it remains to be arranged properly.

But Flom's will, which was filed in Manhattan Surrogate's Court, stated most of the former lawyer's estate will be given to charity, according to The Am Law Daily. The Flom Family Foundation was listed as his biggest beneficiary and expected to receive whichever is less: $50 million or half of his estate.

Estate Planning Tips For People Without Heirs

Most New York residents might think estate planning may be more suited for those who intend on leaving their assets to their spouse or children when they pass away.

However, what many people do not realize is that estate planning is also incredibly helpful even for those without direct heirs. Without any guidance or an appropriate estate plan, the relative or friend left with the task of handling your estate will likely struggle in understanding how you may have wanted your assets to be managed and distributed.

According to Investing Answers, there are several estate planning options available to New Yorkers who are without children or spouse, such as:

Timecard Machine Sorts Through Online Memories After Death

While some people will help sort through the personal belongings of a loved one after his or her death, many might inadvertently forget the importance of also arranging the digital affairs and property of that deceased person.

We live in a generation where millions of people share a large part of their lives online, whether through status updates on Facebook, pictures on Flickr, or videos on YouTube. So after death, what happens to all the personal information that many New York locals may leave in the digital world?

Officials Push For H.I.V. Patients To Get Organ Transplants

Many people living with H.I.V. are living long enough to suffer kidney damage, leaving them needing to have organ transplants, although the waiting lists for organ donations are often incredibly long.

With organs becoming less available, there is an alternative for H.I.V. patients to receive viable ones from a new set of donors: other H.I.V. patients. However, such an option is not even offered, because it is illegal under federal law to transplant organs from donors who test positive for H.I.V.

New Yorkers Encouraged To Review Their Life Insurance Policies

Some New York residents may have a life insurance policy included in their estate plans to set aside money for tax purposes or to protect it from creditors. But The Wall Street Journal reported these variable insurance policies (some of which invested in mutual funds) may be in danger of failing due to a series of adverse effects caused by the upset in the market in 2008.

Let's say an individual has paid $2 million into a policy over a couple of years but has unexpectedly learned he or she will be left with no benefits upon death and could ultimately lose the full cash value of their life insurance. The insurance company would then notify him or her that more money is required to keep the policy alive but that it must be provided within 30 to 60 days, which isn't much time.

Care-giving: Can You Get Paid To Look After An Older Relative?

Care-giving is something millions of Americans traditionally do for their elders, and many family members are often more than willing to look after their aging relatives. But taking care of another person can sometimes be difficult and also very costly, considering the value of family care-giving nationwide has reportedly reached a grand total of $375 billion per year.

With such expensive costs, few New York locals may realize they can get compensated for taking care of an older relative or friend. Although some may see care-giving as a naturally accepted responsibility that they would feel embarrassed to get paid for, many estate planning attorneys may point out that care-giving agreements can actually benefit both the elderly and the caretaker.

Are Self-made Entrepreneurs More Generous Than Wealthy Heirs?

Bill Gates raised an interesting topic in New Delhi last week in his speech, arguing that newly wealthy entrepreneurs are more generous that those who only inherit their fortune. According to The Wall Street Journal, his speech was part of a campaign he is currently working on with Warren Buffet to encourage the rich in India to donate and share their wealth.

“Our experience worldwide is that first-generation wealth is actually more generous than dynastic wealth,” said Gates. He also added “the fact that India over the last 20 years has developed these incredible success stories means that a very high percentage of them in their own way will be giving back to society.”

Identity As Private Property: The Basics Of The Right Of Publicity

Many people may think that almost all the information we find about renowned historical figures, such as Martin Luther King Jr. or Albert Einstein, is just left available for the general public to use because these people have grown to be a part of our collective culture and history.

But some New York locals may not realize that the identities of these notable figures are actually considered private property, which is only made available after receiving proper consent and paying a significant fee. According to the Wills, Trusts, & Estates Prof Blog, a person's identity was never allowed to be owned until 1953, when identity first became recognized as property interest.