Many thanks to Michael LaMagna, Esq. of Riker Danzig and Evan Gilder of Redlig Financial Services for their initial article that prompted this blog. Caring for elderly family members is as exciting as spending your bachelorette party watching C-SPAN reruns (elected officials excluded, of course), so why not pay another person to help your aging Grandma or Dad feed, bath and toilet themselves? And while you are at it, why not have that person “live-in” with Grandma 24 hours a day but only pay the for 13 hours of that work at minimum wage? These were the rules permitted in New York for live-in caregivers, provided they had an 8-hour sleeping period and 3 meal breaks equaling one hour each.
You never know how close you are to your family until you have to share an inheritance with them. I am wrapping-up a case where my client’s mother died, leaving a Will that equally-distributed her real estate between her two somewhat-acrimonious sons. Usually this apartment would be sold, proceeds disbursed, and everyone would go their separate way. However, my client’s brother insisted that he could make them more money if he improved the real estate. His brother (my client) was not so hip on this idea – none of them had any real estate investing experience – but through sheer force, perseverance and presumption his brother had his own son move in (which he did – with a few kewl
And the answer is: No. Usually. See you next week. Okay, okay, I’ll elaborate. Your Last Will and Testament is a confidential document while you are alive. When you pass away your Will may be Probated in a court – at which time it’s contents are publicly available – so that your estate’s assets are properly distributed to your choice of beneficiaries. So only you and your lawyer have access to the contents of your Will. Disinherit your son? He can’t find out while you are alive. Have more assets than your family knows about? They shall continue to live in ignorance. Don’t trust third parties with access to your confidential information? No problem, nothing to see
Many of us have an aging male friend or family member who is unmarried and has no children. This man, also known as your “Uncle Marvin”, is getting older, lives alone, and is probably financially prepared for the remainder of his life. But he may be completely unprepared for the legal consequences of his aging. Unlike his female counterparts, such as your Aunt May, Uncle Marvin and his male contemporaries are more likely to be emotionally isolated from other family members and socially separated from his community. In addition, our society still erroneously views men as competent, stoic loners who don’t require or desire our involvement with their lives. Even our health care and aging mechanisms are geared toward
My grandmother used to counsel her friends with young children by sharing the phrase “Small children, small problems; big children, big problems…” Some siblings work a lot, take pride in their independence, and save their hard-earned money. And some siblings have bad luck, are victims of financial predators or our legal system (divorce, criminal “justice” matters, etc.), or they may just be lazy. While the stars perfectly aligned for the former children, the latter child gets stuck in a perpetual rut, parents or other family members start financing his lifestyle, and sibling bitterness boils. Down-on-their-luck children drain family assets, become increasingly disinterested in working, and cause fraternal discontent and animosity. Parental assets that could one day pass
When you pass away certain information dies with you, such as where you keep your legal documents and what the contents of those documents are. Keep in mind written documents matter: The basis of our lives is run by contracts. But if those contracts cannot be found your wishes and desires could be confounded. Here are some suggestions regarding sharing and not sharing certain legal documents: Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements should always, always, ALWAYS be shared with multiple family members. These are not recorded anywhere, so if you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse mysteriously lose your copies you need to contact your former attorneys. And remember: Attorneys in New York only have an obligation to hold onto legal work product for
Today, more spouses and unmarried cohabitants maintain separate finances. This is probably due to a number of factors, including increased salaries for women and an increase in second marriages and relationships with children from a previous relationship. While these arrangements may work amongst couples during life, they present significant estate planning challenges upon the death of one or the other. How much should the surviving partner get (which could conceivably be left to a future partner) and how much should the children get (to the detriment of the partner)? There is no easy answer. The majority of clients in this position have very concrete opinions about what they want, which makes my life far easier: I’m not a fan of
One of the more-challenging clients for estate planners is restaurant owners. While owning a restaurant is difficult enough during life, the problems that face these professionals at death are equally complex, time consuming and expensive. First, Appetizers: Most restaurant owners spend most of their money on additional restaurants. This creates a major problem with estate liquidity, particularly if they happen to own the real estate where their dining establishments are located (typically in high-tax areas). Otherwise, the establishment is locking into a long-term lease to which the lessor has the right to pursue rent for the remaining term of the lease against the deceased owner’s estate. In either case, substantial cash funds may be needed but are not available. Next,