New York Estate Planning News - Find a NY Estate Attorney

May 2011 Archives

Derek Boogaard, the 28-year old enforcer for the New York Rangers, unexpectedly died in his apartment just a few days after playing in the NHL playoffs. Boogaard was a rough and tough enforcer for the Rangers, and probably one of the least fragile persons you could imagine.

While Derek Boogaard maintained a tough exterior, the NY Times reported he was secretly battling drug addiction at the time of his death. Still, Boogaard's untimely death is likely a jarring surprise to his teammates, fans, and family members. This is because 28-year olds are not supposed to die so young. Especially professional athletes like Boogaard.

What Does Estate Planning Really Mean?

Looking to plan your estate? Do you even know what it means to plan your estate?

Estate planning involves more than drafting a will. Although a will is the simplest and most essential form of estate planning, let's take a look at some estate planning tools to help you determine how you might want to plan your estate and what questions you might want to ask any estate planning lawyer you might hire.

For starters, many people like to use revocable living trusts as a way to avoid the probate courts. This could be a great tool, but revocable living trusts aren't for everyone.

Huguette Clark, an heiress from the Gilded Age, died at the age of 104 sparking what may be a lengthy battle over her considerable estate. According to the New York Daily News, Clark left behind a $500 million fortune that includes a 44-room Fifth Avenue apartment, a chateau in Connecticut, and a collection of rare dolls.

A spokesperson for Clark's attorney revealed that Clark did make a will; however, the spokesperson did not reveal the beneficiaries. Whoever the beneficiaries may be, it is a safe bet that Clark's estate will be subject to intense scrutiny and a potential will contest. Parties will no doubt lawyer-up to get a slice of the $500 million pie.

Estate Planning For Unmarried, Same-Sex Couples Cohabitating

A number of same-sex couples in New York may be anxious as they wait for same-sex marriage to become legal in the state. Crain's New York Business reported that recent polls showed almost 6 in 10 New Yorkers favor marriage equality for same-sex couples.

In fact, many are optimistic that the legislation for same-sex marriage, which is currently on the table in Albany, could be approved before the state legislative session ends in June, especially with Governor Andrew Cuomo leading the way.

Even so, many unmarried same-sex couples have struggled with the difficulties of cohabitation and planning their estate without having the legal protection of an official marriage.

How To Avoid Messy Inheritance Disputes

When it comes to property inheritance disputes, the death of a loved one can send real estate holdings into legal mayhem without proper planning, almost as much as cases that involve a sticky divorce.

Many New York estate planning attorneys have come across a number of complicated property disputes, such as whether a new wife should inherit the home where the first family was raised, or if a home inherited by four siblings should be sold if only one wants to sell it.

What about the daughter who decided to live with and care for her mother, should she be permitted to live in the house after her mother's death?

Wellington Burt's Fortune Will Finally Be Split After 92 Years

For mysterious reasons unknown to many, the late wealthy lumber and iron mogul Wellington R. Burt had maintained in his will that the bulk of his fortune could only be distributed 21 years after the death of his last surviving grandchild, according to ABC News.

"I don't think we'll ever know exactly what it was that ticked him off that said, hey, after my last grandchild dies, 21 years after that, then you can get your money," said historic preservationist Thomas Mudd. But as some New York residents may have heard, 21 years have now passed since the death of Burt's last surviving granddaughter in 1989.

Feld Heirs Face Legal Disputes, Including One Over Uncle's Trust

As some New York locals may have heard, Karen Feld, the daughter of late Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Baily circus multimillionaire owner Irvin Feld, is suing her estranged younger brother Kenneth for assault, reported the Associated Press. Kenneth Feld, 62, allegedly had his bodyguards attack Karen, 63, during a Jewish rite of sitting shiva held for the death of their aunt.

The suit, which seeks $110 million, claims Kenneth had long wanted to control his sister's life and harm her out of fear that she would disclose certain facts about their father and family that could potentially damage the family business' image. At the same time, Kenneth also faces another lawsuit filed by Karen over a trust that they share.

Document Supposed to be Osama bin Laden's Will Found

According to The Guardian, Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Anbaa reports that a document purported to be Osama bin Laden's will was recently discovered with his signature on it.

The paperwork was reportedly marked as "private and confidential" and dated on December 14, 2001, three months after the attacks on 9/11. The supposed will states Bin Laden's last requests to his family were for his children to not join al-Qaida and his wives not to remarry.

Some New York locals may find such a will rather unusual, since most wills in the U.S. typically focus more on how a person's estate should be handled after his or her death. However, FindLaw states that many individuals, may also use their wills to share some of their wishes with their loved ones.

How Can You Include Your Pet In Your Estate Planning?

Hotel heiress Leona Helmsley may have famously left out some of her relatives from her estate planning when she died, but she made certain to bequeath $12 million to her much-loved Maltese dog, Trouble. A judge later thought the amount was too much and reduced it to $2 million.

Most pet owners in New York, whether they are wealthy or not, just want to make sure their pets are cared and provided for in case they become incapacitated or pass away, writes Reuters' Prism Money. PetGuardian estimated that shelters and veterinarians euthanize nearly 500,000 pets after they have outlived their owners.