Although it occurred in another state, a legal dispute that has erupted over a wealthy businessman's trucking empire has important lessons for Rochester, New York residents who may be going through similar estate litigation.
Debt is a reality for most Americans. Even if your assets exceed your debt, it is likely that you owe some money on your house, car, credit card or as the result of a personal loan. In fact, nearly three-quarters of Americans have some debt when they pass away, with the average coming to more than $60,000 at the time of death. When formulating your estate plan, it is important to understand how this debt will be handled.
Long-term care in a nursing home or other facility, or even in-home care, is very expensive, so expensive that it can put an elderly or ill Rochester resident in dire financial straits. It is therefore important for Rochester residents, in the course of their end-of-life and estate planning, to account for these expenses that many people in New York have to undertake since they need the medical care.
This is part three of a three-part series
This is the second of a three-part series on the importance of wills.
A previous post on this blog discussed how residents of Rochester, New York, can contest a will if they feel they have legal grounds to do so. Indeed, estate litigation, including will contests, can be very important when a person who has a right to an inheritance is being bullied or taken advantage of by someone else involved in the process.
Last year, when Prince died at the age of only 57, the iconic musician's death took almost everyone by surprise - not least of his closest surviving family members, who were shocked to learn that the singer had never written a will. According to a Gallup Poll taken in May of 2016, less than half of Americans have a valid will prepared - only a meager 44 percent.
Although Rochester residents usually try to plan their estates carefully in order to prevent disputes between family members, the taxing authority or other parties who stand to benefit from an estate, sometimes estate litigation still emerges.
In many estate planning scenarios, a person creates a will that designates certain pieces of property to go to one person or another. Then, during the course of their lifetime, the person disposes of the property. For example, they might sell it or even give it away during their lifetime to someone other than the heir listed in the will, without actually making any changes to the terms of the will itself. When that happens, the heir to the property listed in the will may wonder if they have any right to that property after their loved one passes away.