A good article on the importance of having an estate plan. http://www.forbes.com/sites/feeonlyplanner/2016/07/18/the-difference-between-having-an-estate-plan-and-a-wealth-transfer-plan/#37ac0675115e
An excellent article listing the most basic life changes that should cause everyone to review and revise their estate plan. http://www.forbes.com/sites/markeghrari/2016/01/28/8-reasons-to-revise-your-estate-plan-today/#1ba8bf6230d9
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
The attached article provides a good explanation of trust planning.
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