Are you looking to plan your estate soon? If so, then you may wish to consider including an "in terrorem," or no-contest, clause when drafting either your will or living trust documents.
If you have a disabled family member, then you likely are aware that government subsidies awarded by both the state and federal government aren't intended to allow him or her to live overly comfortably. Instead, they're only intended to ensure that his or her basic needs are covered just over the poverty line.
As is the case with most states, in order for a will to be considered legally enforceable in New York, §§3-1.1 of the estates and trusts state code notes that the individual executing it must be of both "sound mind" and at least 18.
More often than that, a trust is created as a tool for managing an individual's tangible assets, such as finances or real estate, for someone else's benefit on down the road. In many cases, an individual may create the trust so that his or her assets will be more easily transferred to that person's beneficiaries upon his or her death.
We'd probably all like to control our own destinies, yet few of us will ever get the chance to choose what happens to us if we find ourselves incapacitated in the hospital, unable to voice our own wishes. If you appoint a health care proxy, though, you just might. You can have this individual make some of the harder decisions about your health if you even become unable to make them yourself.
In New York, under the state's Health Care Proxy Law, you can appoint to have someone else make medical decisions for you if you become unable to do so yourself. There are generally two situations in which that individual may be called upon to make decisions about your medical care.
While it's important for everyone to have an estate plan in place, regardless of his or her net worth, it's particularly prudent for those of means to have one. That's because the transfer of assets doesn't wait for anyone. It's required immediately upon an individual's death. An estate plan serves the role of designating to whom certain assets are distributed to once you pass away.
Having kids, building an investment or asset portfolio, living life on the edge or aging are all important reasons to begin the estate planning process. People who have a will, health care proxy and powers of attorney in place will rest easy knowing that those who love them the most will be empowered to make decisions for them should the unexpected occur and they're unable to do so themselves.
Minor children enjoy the benefit of having parents that reserve the legal right to make medical decisions on their behalf. Once that individual turns 18, though, the ability to decide what is right for his or her health becomes solely his or her own.
While many couples rely on estate planning as a way to ensure that one spouse's assets will end up in the other's possession upon their death, same-sex couples are unfortunately not afforded those same guarantees. Despite marriage equality laws that have been implemented in recent years, the transfer of one spouse's estate to their same-sex partner requires the advance signing of directives to ensure that it proceeds smoothly.