Neeraj L. Shah, Esq., MBA, CPA
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- death taxes
what is it?
Q. … ‘avoiding probate?’
A. If you simply leave your estate to your loved ones using a will, then everything that you own will pass through probate – a process that is expensive, time-consuming, and open to the public. You have kept a lot private during your lifetime, do you really want things (finances and family relationships) to become public upon your death? Courts may freeze assets for months while trying to determine the proper disposition of your estate. It can be very stressful on your surviving family members.
Q. What is an estate plan?
A. That’s a loaded question. When you die, your property must somehow pass to another person. You have the right to choose the manner in which your property is distributed after your passing. A proper estate plan will not only address this need, but also minimize potential estate tax and settlement cost, as well as carrying out your wishes regarding health care matters.
Q. Why is an estate plan important for me – I don’t have a lot of money/assets?
A. If you don’t make proper legal arrangements for the management of your assets, the state’s intestacy laws will take over. This often results in the wrong people getting your assets, and many times results in higher estate taxes.
Q. What are some of the reasons to have an estate plan?
A. There are several reasons to consider an estate plan, including: 1) planning for and minimizing death taxes, 2) providing for incapacity, 3) providing for medical decisions, 4) avoiding probate, 5) providing for minor children, 6) charitable bequests or planned giving. In summary, a well-crafted estate plan is a tool designed to be an effective and efficient manner of avoiding guardianship during your lifetime, probate at death, minimizing estate taxes, and avoiding unnecessary delays.
Q. … ‘planning for and minimizing death taxes?’
A. Will your estate be subject to federal AND state estate tax? The answer to this depends on the size of your estate and how your estate plan works. What makes up your gross estate in the first place? The tax law in this area is not static, and there are a lot of moving parts.
SOLUTION: A contingency plan can be executed that names the person(s) you would like to manage your assets as well as the guardian you would like to nominate for the upbringing of your children.
why is it important?
- avoiding probate
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- minor children
SOLUTION: Your estate plan can provide for plan to give the most possible to a charitable organization or cause with minimal tax consequences.
Q. … ‘providing for incapacity?’
A. Many assume that their spouses or adult children automatically take over for you in the event that you become incapacitated and not able to manage your own financial affairs. This is not true. A court must first declare you legally incompetent, which can be both lengthy and costly. Even if the court appoints the person that you would have chosen, this person must report back to the court for accounting purposes – this can be a headache. Keep in mind that a will does not take effect until you die and a power of attorney may be insufficient.
SOLUTION: You can execute a legal document to designate a person to make such decisions in the event that you cannot. Further, you can execute another legal document which informs others of your preferred medical treatment should you become permanently unconscious or terminally ill.
some reasons for a plan?
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- medical decisions
DISCLAIMER: Attorney Advertising. This website is advertising material. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. You are invited to contact the office by phone, letters or electronic mail. Contacting the office does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to the office until an attorney-client relationship has been established in writing. Top 5 neighborhoods that we serve for tax preparation in Rochester, NY are: Penfield, Webster, Pittsford, Fairport and the city of Rochester. Also serve for tax preparation in: Irondequoit, Henrietta, Macedon, Walworth, and Mendon.
Q. … ‘providing for minor children?’
A. Did you ever consider the issues regarding the upbringing of your kids should you or both you and your spouse die? Do you want your spouse to have an added burden of work along with caring for your children? What if your spouse lacks the experience or ability to handle the family’s financial and legal matter? Do you want these sensitive issues to be determined by the court of law.
SOLUTION: With proper planning, your assets can pass to those you care without undergoing probate; in a process that is quick, inexpensive, and kept private! This is done through a well-drafted and properly funded Living Trust.
Q. What are some of the steps in Probate?
A. Each estate is different, but most involve the following steps: 1) filing of a petition with the proper court, 2) notice to heirs under the Will or to statutory heirs if no Will exists, 3) petition to appoint executor/administrator, 4) inventory and appraisal of estate assets, 5) payment to creditors, 6) sales of estate assets, 7) payment of estate taxes, and 8) final distribution of assets to heirs.
Q. How much does Probate cost and how long does it last?
A. It varies, but some of the common expenses include: executor fees, attorney fees, accounting fees, court fees, appraisal costs, and surety bonds. These expenses are roughly 2% - 7% of the total estate value. Most estates are settled through the probate process within 18 months, assuming no litigation.
SOLUTION: Designate a person that you trust in proper legal documents so that they will have the authority to withdraw money from your accounts, pay bills, etc.
SOLUTION: There are many proven strategies that can be implemented to minimize or even eliminate your death or estate taxes – however, you must start the planning process early to implement many of these plans.
Q. What makes up my gross estate?
A. Your gross estate is simply everything you own anywhere in the world, including: 1) everything you directly own, 2) your business interests, 3) your share of joint accounts, 4) the full value of your retirement accounts, 5) life insurance policies that you own, 6) property owned by a trust where you retain significant control, 7) your brokerage accounts, and 8) your personal property such as jewelry and your prized Albert Pujols rookie baseball card.
Q. What can Shah Law Firm, PLLC do for me?
A. Without a proper estate planning strategy, it is very possible that much of the significant assets that you have worked hard to accumulate can end up with Uncle Sam! The owner of Shah Law Firm, PLLC, Neeraj L. Shah, has not only earned the C.P.A. designation, but also is admitted as an Attorney. To deliver the best product, it is essential to fully understand all of the moving parts. Neeraj offers clients a depth of knowledge, skill and business acumen that very few practitioners can match.
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Q. … ‘providing for medical decisions?’
A. How should you establish a plan for medical care should you lose the ability to make decisions about medical treatment options by yourself?
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Attorney Advertising Material * CPA Advertising Material * With the designations of being an attorney and a CPA, we are proudly one of the most qualified tax preparation firms in Rochester, NY. Don't opt for an inferior product; call 585-388-8388! Webster tax preparation? We've got it. Fairport tax preparation? We've got that too. Yes, Pittsford tax preparation and of course, Penfield tax preparation. Top 5 neighborhoods that we serve for tax preparation in Rochester, NY are: Penfield, Webster, Pittsford, Fairport and the city of Rochester. Brilliant tax preparation in 14526 and 14625.
Shah Law Firm, PLLC - "a LAW firm with a focus in estate planning, tax law, and business"
Q. … ‘charitable bequests or planned giving?’
A. Wouldn’t it be nice to get the most bang for your buck? The form and timing of your giving can result in different investment yields, capital gains, or estate tax obligations.