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Approaching Your Plan From Different Angles - White Plains, NYFuture-Proofing Your Estate

My practice has a significant amount of overlap between estate planning and other areas of the law. The one that I find my practice by far intersecting the most with is real estate. Besides this, I occasionally run into issues where family law matters related to a divorce arise and demand my attention, especially when previous estates are involved.

In real estate, a few generalizations are critical and transcend most circumstances. Irrespective of your particular circumstances, language is incredibly important – your documents must be written in a forward-looking manner that takes into account various potential scenarios and makes appropriate provisions for different outcomes.

If you are a homeowner, you should make strategic provisions as part of your estate. How your title is written for your property dramatically affects your ability to include it in your estate plan. Whether held as joint tenants, where it passes outside of your will, or by a trust, which automatically manages any real estate, both options have significant implications for your situation and entail different requirements.

For instance, it is common for people to inherit a house from their parents or, conversely, sell their property after they have gotten an estate plan in place. I take great care to craft language so that these situations do not prove problematic to my clients for this very reason. An example of this is instead of saying, “My property at a specific location,” to say, “Any property which I may own at the time of my death.” It may seem trivial or obviously common sense, but you would be surprised how often this is neglected. Taking the little amount of time required to include anything that might later come into your estate makes life so much less stressful down the road.

This applies not only to personal property you may own but even businesses, particularly small, self-run, fully-owned businesses. When winding down the business and making arrangements for passing it on to a child or close friend, properly managing these subtle distinctions will pay dividends in time. If it is a corporation, things are a little different and would require discussing how stock in the company is to be managed. This is true of LLCs as well.

In relation to intersections with family law, considering that roughly half of marriages end in divorce, issues related to divorce are a somewhat frequent matter that I address. More often than not, a divorced person owns property with their ex-spouse. Typically, one will buy out the other or transfer over the property, but this doesn’t always happen. As such, it is crucial to determine and state how that property will be passed on. How the property is owned will greatly impact estate planning considerations when producing relevant documentation. If it’s a joint tenant, then it will automatically pass to the other person. If not, the individual is entitled to give their share to whomever they desire. However, they would need to have their estate planning portfolio reflect these wishes.

Ultimately, evaluate everything you own, considering how you want it passed on after you die, and make provisions accordingly.

For more information on the Overlap Of Estate Planning With Other Areas Of Law, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (914) 358-9755 today.

Rose Rossi, Esq.

Call For A Free Consultation
(914) 358-9755

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