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Estate Planning for the Blended Family

Preparing a will and estate plan for a blended family can be complicated, and strain family relations. These days, many families include children, stepchildren, former spouses and in-laws. The number of remarriages has been steadily rising over the past few decades. By some accounts, in 2013, 40 percent of marriages included at least one spouse who had previously been married, and in 20 percent of remarriages, both spouses had previously been married. Such situations require estate planning with clearly understood goals. The biggest issue in blended families is typically, “where will my money go when I die?” In many cases, remarried couples want to ensure that the surviving spouse will be appropriately cared for upon the death of their partner—with the children from their previous marriages becoming the ultimate beneficiaries of the assets their parents brought to the marriage.  The challenge comes from designing a plan that will keep all

NYS Estate Tax Changes: The Good News, and the Bad News

As of April 1st New York state doubled its estate tax exemption – the amount you can leave your heirs without paying state estate tax – and it is set to rise gradually through 2019 to eventually match the federal exemption, projected by then to be $5.9 million.  That will make estate tax planning much easier for many people, but there are still big traps in the new law to watch out for. One such trap in New York is a new “cliff,” so called because if it is triggered you fall into NY’s estate tax abyss. Until April 1, 2014 the amount an individual could leave to their heirs (other than a spouse) without owing NYS estate tax was $1 million.  Your estate would then pay NYS estate tax (to a 16% top rate) on the value of your assets which exceed $1 million.  As of April 1, 2014 the

Separation and Divorce in the age of social media can be dangerous!

Posting an angry rant on Facebook or Twitter is far more dangerous than standing on your front steps and yelling it.  Internet posts never fully disappear, and any attempt to delete your post could be construed as tampering with evidence, if someone wants to use the post in court. Click here for an interesting article on the subject.

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