New York Estate Planning News - Find a NY Estate Attorney

July 2012 Archives

Estate Planning For iTunes, Passwords and Other Digital Assets

In an increasingly digital world, is it any surprise that estate planning would also become more digital?

Our assets aren’t all just paper assets or tangible physical assets anymore. Many people have online accounts, websites, domains, and other digital assets worth money.

So what to do in the digital age? The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the estate planning industry hasn’t quite figured that one out just yet.

How to Leave Money Behind for New York Charities

The New York philanthropy scene is thriving and many charities have been known to benefit from the estates of individuals. Consider, for example, the estate of Brooke Astor, which gave millions to New York charities earlier this year.

In addition to the altruistic motives involved in giving to charity, there's also a huge tax incentive to give a portion of your estate to charity, particularly if your estate will be subject to estate tax. Giving to charity can lower your estate tax burden.

So if you are a New Yorker contemplating the idea of leaving money behind for charity, here are some things you need to know.

Estate Tax Language Dropped from Democrat Proposal

What will happen to estate taxes in the coming years?

It’s a question plaguing many estate planners these days. With the current set of estate tax rules set to expire at the end of the year, there is much uncertainty.

And it looks like Capitol Hill is continuing with the uncertainty. While the Senate Democrats proposed the extension of the Bush era tax cuts through 2013, they dropped the language addressing the estate tax, reports Bloomberg Businessweek.

Ileana Sonnabend Heirs Can't Sell Illegal Art Piece, IRS Taxes it Anyways

Imagine that someone dies leaving behind a massive collection of valuables-- only some of the valuables can never be sold. What would the IRS do in such a case? What would the heirs do if they get taxed on the illiquid valuables? This is exactly the battle over Ileana Sonnabend's estate, reports The New York Times.

Sonnabend, who passed away in 2007, was a legendary art dealer in the New York scene.

Michael Jackson's Siblings Write Scathing Letter to Executors

It’s Michael Jackson week on our blog. Maybe not officially, but MJ’s estate has been making headlines all week.

Now, the Jackson siblings are going after the executors of his estate, accusing them of fraud, mismanagement and of abusing their mother, reports CNN.

Mary Richardson Kennedy's Remains Dug Up and Moved

We promised you that the battle over Mary Richardson Kennedy would rage on.

Now, her remains have been been exhumed and she’s been buried elsewhere, reports The Associated Press.

You heard right. She’s been dug up and moved.

Michael Jackson's Estate is Nearly Out of Debt

It’s the estate that keeps giving. Michael Jackson’s estate was heavily in debt when he passed away in 2009, but now, TMZ reports that his estate has nearly paid off the entire $500 million debt, thanks to royalties and earnings after the singer passed away.

TMZ claims to have legal documents showing that the estate of Michael Jackson generated gross earnings of $475 million as of the end of May. It appears that the only remaining debt is linked to his publishing catalog.

Zsa Zsa Gabor's Husband Becomes Her Conservator

Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband has been granted conservatorship over her affairs, reports Reuters.

The ninety-five year old actress has been in declining health for years now and the decision to grant temporary conservatorship to her husband, Prinz Frederic von Anhalt, came on Wednesday.

Are You a Fiduciary? The Pitfalls of Being Trusted Too Much

It's not uncommon for the estates of elders to be looted or taken advantage of by fiduciaries of the estate. Take, for example, this sad story coming out of Santa Clara, California.

Backhouse Fiduciary Services, an institution that managed several trusts and other financial asset planning tools, is under investigation by the FBI for the reported loss of $17.3 million from clients' accounts, according to The Mercury News.

Disinheriting Your Spouse? Not So Easy in New York

We've discussed two cases recently that present one common issue: The right of an estranged spouse to inherit.

What happens when a spouse dies in the middle of a divorce? Or what happens if a couple is separated at the time of death and the will purports to leave everything to someone other than the spouse?

The answer to that lies in New York's right of election.

Kinkade's Estate Battle to Remain Public

We told you that the Kinkade estate battle wasn’t over yet. Last Friday, Thomas Kinkade’s estranged wife filed papers in court, seeking to keep the court battle private.

On Monday, a California court delivered a small victory to Kinkade’s girlfriend, Amy Pinto-Walsh, saying that the dispute would be public, reports the Associated Press. Well, at least for the time being.

Saving for Education: New York 529 Plans

Estate planners don’t just help you plan for retirement and for the post-death administration of your assets. They can also be a valuable source of information on other financial savings tools, as many of these can factor into an estate plan.

Take education savings plans, for instance. Many people might want to put aside money for their children's education. While a child's trust might set aside some income for education, it's not the only way to ensure you've saved for the future of your child or children.

Mary Kennedy's Lawyers Block RFK Jr. From Administering Estate

Mary Kennedy’s lawyers are trying to block Robert F. Kennedy Jr. from becoming the administrator of her estate, reports

Last week, the late Mary Kennedy’s former divorce lawyers filed a petition in Surrogate’s Court in Westchester County. Her lawyers allege that RFK Jr. owed them $278,000 in legal fees, according to the New York Post.