You Don’t Really Want an Asset Protection Trust

I get a lot of calls from people asking if I can set up an Asset Protection Trust for them. These people usually owe taxes or child support, are contemplating divorce, have recently been the responsible party in an accident or injury to someone else, or anticipate their risky business practices will lead to lawsuits in the future. Despite what they may think, most people in these situations do not want their property owned by an Asset Protection Trust. Asset Protection Trusts are permitted and created in a handful of states (currently 16) such as Delaware, Nevada, Ohio, Alaska and Rhode Island. Trusts created in other states do not have the same level of protection. The idea is that you

Read More

Thinking About Divorce? Sign Your Will First

Unless there is a prenuptial agreement stating your husband or wife gets nothing when you pass away, if you are married when you die your spouse often has several rights to your estate. Some states, such as New York, entitle your spouse to at least 1/3 of your gross estate even if you leave them nothing, and if you own property with them jointly they get all of that property when you die. And even worse, if you don’t do any estate planning your spouse may be the sole beneficiary of your estate. So if your marriage is failing I suggest that you fire the first shot at your partner and disinherit them before you file for divorce. For people

Read More

Dead Before His Time: Kobe Bryant and His Possible Estate

I remember being a college student when I first saw the future phenom of the Los Angeles Lakers play for the first time. He was 16 years old, grew up in Italy, seemed like a good kid, and his relentless drive to win was only equaled by his controlled contorting drives to the basket. I lived in Southern California when Kobe, Shaquille O’Neal, and a host of great supporting players won the Threepeat NBA championships of the 2000s. It was a well-known fact that Bryant’s Give-ME-The-Ball style of play, insistence on taking impossible shots and general separation from his colleagues made him incredibly unpopular with his teammates, but he sunk the big shots and the endorsements came pouring in. Kobe

Read More

Some of the Many Reasons Estate Attorneys Should NOT Work with Citibank

While I have made sweeping generalizations that corporate trustees will take money from you faster than hitting after you draw 17 in Vegas, it’s pretty rare that I overtly criticize a particular financial institution in my blogs. But since I can’t hide my frustration anymore (and since proving libelous behavior requires a written statement to be untrue, which none of the following is) I feel it is time to send out a warning to my Estate Planning and Elder Law attorney colleagues: Do NOT work with Citibank, and tell your clients not to, for the following reasons: The Inmates Get the Keys to the Asylum: Citibank allows their desk clerks to review your legal documents and make their own assessment

Read More

Is There Any Reason NOT to Do a Medicaid Trust in New York?!?!

Many aging individuals appreciate how much work they have done through their lives, how much risk they took, and how they were somehow able to save up enough money to live in retirement for over 20 years. Then, without warning, they have a stroke, or a fall, or are diagnosed with dementia, and it becomes clear to them that their aging health issues can erase their entire net worth in a mere few years. The family then finds out that receiving home care Medicaid is pretty easy, but to protect family assets from Medicaid nursing home care benefits requires you to be indigent for at least 5 years. And (unfortunately by predictably) the family home was never transferred or properly

Read More

The Many Risks of “Deathbed” Estate Planning

I can appreciate that planning for your own demise years before your death is not as exciting as planning your next K-Pop karaoke face-off (or any other activity imaginable for that matter). Yet many people fear death so much during their healthy and convalescing periods that they take no estate planning actions whatsoever in the hopes that ignoring this 12,000 pound gorilla will make it just go away. It doesn’t, so many estate planners are – frankly too often – called in during a new client’s final living days to draft their Will, create and fund trusts, or update beneficiary designation forms. These last-ditch “Deathbed” Will signings do not achieve their desired end result an inordinately-high amount of the time

Read More

Why Jeffrey Epstein’s Trust Only Adds to the Murder Conspiracy

While America’s criminal justice system does not judge people to be guilty until proven guilty (even though it has no compunction with adjudicating innocent people as being guilty), Jeffrey Epstein sure does look like a bad, bad dude. The “Pimp of the Rich and Famous” would have been charged with human trafficking, statutory rape, prostitution, and likely many more demented crimes which thinking of would cause most decent people to throw up in their mouth a little bit. His trial and any plea bargain could have been an enormous bombshell that would have ruined at least a few people with HUGE shoes to fill. It was in this context that Jeffrey Epstein somehow hung himself from a five-foot high bunkbed

Read More

Wills: What Do Executors Get Paid in New York?

When your Will is probated your Executor is entitled to receive a commission for their work. And while you can define what that commission is in your Will, most people choose New York’s statutory guideline for that commission (the concern is that if the fee is too low no one will want to be Executor, since you can’t force someone to do the job). In New York, that statute is created by the Surrogate’s Court Procedures Act, Section 2307, and it has a lot of juicy details that differentiate it from other state’s more-streamlined statutory commissions: Keep in mind that any assets which pass through a living trust, a joint account, or assets passing by “operation of law” (such as

Read More

The Battle of Winterfell: An Estate Attorney’s Payday

After turning down family plans for 70 Sunday nights, waiting more than 70 weeks for a new episode, and using nearly 70% of your brain’s computing power remembering all of the interpersonal relations in Westeros (could Hot Pie the baker actually be the Prince That Was Promised?), Game Of Thrones is almost over. But we are told the best is yet to come next Sunday when the Battle Royale Extraordinaire between the living and the Army of the Dead face off in Winterfell. And so, with only a few episodes left, facing what will likely be the greatest CGI human slaughter of all time, I am left wondering ONLY one thing: Why wasn’t anyone in Winterfell drafting their Will? If

Read More

DISCLAIMER: Attorney Advertising. Please note that prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.