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A good estate plan will help ensure an expedient disposition of your assets at death.
Beyond this, your plan should address specific family issues such as: naming guardians for minors; second marriage concerns; planning for a child or spouse who is receiving government benefits; protecting a child or other beneficiary in a troubled marriage; and protecting assets for the benefit of a problem gambler or substance abuser.
A comprehensive estate plan should also diagnose possible estate tax exposure and offer remedial solutions such as QPRTs, GRATs, FLPs and other trusts.
The threshold for Federal estate tax exposure is $3.5 million for 2009 and 2010. New York, however, taxes all estates in excess of $1.0 million. All assets that pass at death are subject to this tax. Life insurance death benefits, retirement accounts, bank accounts with a named beneficiary or co-owner are includible in one’s taxable estate.
It is important to remember that avoiding probate does not mean that you will avoid estate tax, unless you engage in estate tax planning.
After our initial meeting, we will make specific recommendations on options for you to consider.