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Rochester Estate Planning Law Blog

What are some signs of financial exploitation?

A previous post on this blog discussed how careful estate planning can prevent an aging resident of Rochester, New York from falling victim to financial exploitation. Although many New Yorkers would realize that a pattern of financial exploitation, once it has run its course, could leave an elderly person penniless, it may also be helpful to know the early signs of exploitation so as to prevent the issue from getting worse.

Some warning signs of exploitation are not tell tale, as they could also be signs of some other problem that has nothing to do with financial abuse. For example, the fact that an elderly Rochester resident is experiencing some problems with mobility and getting around can be a financial abuse case in the making. For example, an unscrupulous contractor can take advantage of someone who is not able to keep up with his or her home by leading him or her to believe that there is a serious issue that needs immediate repair.

The importance of seamless estate planning

People tend to put off estate planning and elder planning far longer than they should. Some choose a piecemeal approach, making plans for one thing or another over a period of months or years. Delay and the lack of a cohesive plan can cause many problems when it comes to your legacy. They can lead to unnecessary tax liability. They can frustrate your intentions. They can even lead to disputes that tear families apart. It is important to make a plan with a clear and consistent vision of what you want for the future.

Delay can cost you

Estate planning to prevent financial exploitation

As we age, it is a sad truth that we draw the attention of people looking to take advantage. Older Americans are heavily targeted by individuals and groups looking to defraud them of the assets they've accumulated over a lifetime. An elderly person who is not in full control of their financial situation could find themselves destitute in a matter of months.

Financial abuse of the elderly is common

To give or not to give? That is the question

A previous post on this blog urged Rochester, New York, residents who were thinking about drafting a will to resist the temptation to just give away property to his or her loved ones immediately. As that post pointed out, the problem with doing so is that it leaves a person without the ability to control his or her own property. This can be a scary prospect even for families that seem to be loving and close-knit.

However, in contrast to that advice, a Rochester resident who is looking at the possibility of having to stay in a nursing home may have no choice but to start giving away assets and doing so even earlier than what he or she might have wanted. After all, it may be very hard for all but the wealthiest people to pay for nursing home care out of pocket, and so qualifying for Medicaid may be the only realistic option.

Traps to be aware of when drafting a will

According to a report in a major New York media source, more and more people in Rochester and in other communities are writing wills earlier in life. What was once a ritual for people hitting their "empty nest" years is now an exercise even younger people with small children are taking on.

It is particularly common for younger people to write wills in areas where people make fortunes early in life, and it is also more common in New York, where the possibility of someone in the prime of life dying in an unexpected terrorist attack is on the minds of the public.

Overview of guardianships in New York

Many people in the Rochester area recognize as they continue to age that one day, they will not be able to continue to handle their own financial affairs without some assistance. In some cases, the person may not even be able to make sound decisions about their own living arrangements and basic needs.

While proper estate planning, such as executing powers of attorney that have been well thought out and carefully drafted, can resolve many of these issues, sometimes a guardianship will be necessary in order to provide for an aging loved one or, at least, his or her property. Those reading this blog should be forewarned, though, that guardianship may be a decision made by their loved ones, so it is important to make one's wishes known well prior to becoming unable to do so.

Asset valuation: an often forgotten part of estate administration

Particularly for those who have lost a loved one recently and are still expected to handle what was their property administering an estate can be an added stress and a time-consuming activity. Even in estates which are not being contested by disgruntled heirs, there is still a lot of administrative paperwork to do and steps to take, and this is true even if the property is part of a trust as opposed to a will that has to go through probate.

In all of the rush, it may be tempting for a Rochester, New York family who is trying to wrap up a loved one's financial affairs to forget about the importance of asset valuation. Legally, a personal representative or the person in charge of a trust is expected to put an accurate value on all of the estate's property. While this is fairly simple when it comes to things like cash or even publicly traded stock, it can be hard to put a value on real estate, a family business or other items like antiques or fine art.

Simple estate planning steps for women over 50

As our society has changed over the preview few decades, many women are beginning to find themselves on their own as they approach late middle age. Whether through divorce, death of a spouse or simply deciding never to marry, middle-aged women are beginning to control an increasing portion of our nation's wealth.

Preparing to meet financial challenges and goals after our working years is important. Single women over 50, in particular, should take special steps to protect their retirement and financial legacy. Here are some simple steps from that every woman should take as soon as possible.

The Medicaid "look back" period and how it affects planning

As previous posts on this blog have discussed, many middle class residents of Rochester, New York, who have worked hard all of their lives may find themselves in a bind as they approach old age and retirement. They will either have to fork over tens and possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for medical and nursing home care, or they will have to rely on Medicaid for help once they stop earning income.

The difficulty is that Medicaid is for New Yorkers who have both limited income and assets. A person with a bunch of property saved up, even if it was earned through hard work and even if it is intended as a family legacy, will likely not qualify for Medicaid.

How does the inheritance tax work in New York?

One importance piece of estate administration that any personal representative handling a Rochester, New York, estate will have to resolve is whether an estate will have to consider and pay an inheritance tax. Like many other states, New York has an inheritance tax which has to be paid even if an estate will not be assessed the federal estate tax.

New York 's inheritance tax, which is more appropriately called an "estate tax," is based in part off of the federal estate tax in that a New Yorker's "gross estate" under federal law also serves as the taxable estate for New York estate tax purposes. The taxable estate is the calculated value of a person's estate that is subject to tax. Under New York law, certain gifts a deceased person made shortly before death may also be included in the taxable estate.

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Weinstein & Randisi
290 Linden Oaks, Ste. 200
Rochester, NY 14625

Toll Free: 800-768-1780
Phone: 585-310-1578
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