1. LEARNING MORE ABOUT
YOUR ESTATE PLAN
NYPL - SCIENCE, INDUSTRY AND
BUSINESS LIBRARY, FEBRUARY 2017
Provided by the FPA® of New York
ALL INFORMATION CONTAINED IN
THESE PAGES IS FOR
INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.
IT SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED
PLEASE CONSULT AN ATTORNEY
BEFORE TAKING ANY STEPS BASED
ON THIS INFORMATION.
3. Why Everyone Needs an Estate
Avoids Guardianship Proceedings during
Allows you to leave money to who you
want to receive it when you die.
Can save you certain administration fees.
Obviates the need for an attorney to be
appointed for minor beneficiaries.
Avoids disabled beneficiaries from losing
4. DURABLE GENERAL POWER
Designate a person or persons to manage
your financial affairs.
Designates also what areas of your
finances you are giving control over.
Beware! This is a blank check. The person
you designate could take all your money.
They could go to jail for it, but the money
may have disappeared before they are
5. HEALTH CARE PROXY
Designates a person to make medical
decisions for you if you are unable to do so.
Also designates a second person in case
the first person is unavailable.
Be selective in who you choose.
6. LIVING WILL
Can be within the Health Care Proxy.
States what you would like to happen to you if you
cannot make your own health care decisions and:
1. You are in a terminal condition; or
2. You are permanently unconscious; or
3. You are conscious but have irreversible brain
damage and will never regain the ability to make
decisions and express your wishes.
These conditions are sometimes referred to as "a
7. LIVING WILL
I feel especially strongly about the following forms of treatment:
I do not want mechanical respiration.
I do not want tube feeding.
I do not want antibiotics.
I do not want cardiac resuscitation.
I do want maximum pain relief, even if such treatment hastens
I direct that treatment be limited to measures to keep me
comfortable and to relieve pain, including any pain that might
occur by withholding or withdrawing treatment.
8. Gross Estate
EVERYTHING you own
Most people assume that everything you
own passes through your will upon your
death. It does not!
Property passing by your Will (through
“Probate”) only transfers money that “We
don’t know where it goes without the Will.”
10. Non-Probate Estate
We know where money goes without the Will
IRA, 401(k), pension plan, 403(b), TDA
Joint Property: your house, bank
accounts, brokerage accounts
Transfer on Death Accounts, Totten
Trusts (called "In Trust For")
Contracts (e.g. pre-nuptial, partnership)
14. Intestacy: Dying Without a Will
The “State’s Will” for you, and it’s priorities
1. Spouse -100%
2. Spouse/Children -$50,000 + 50%/50%
3. Children -100%
4. Parents -100%
5. Siblings -100% (Nieces and Nephews)
6. Grandparents -100%
7. Aunts + Uncles -100%
8. Cousins -100%
9. The State of New York (yep)
15. The State’s Priority Controls A
Lot About Wills15
Who gets what money if there is no Will?
Who gets put on notice if there is a Will?
Who has the best right to serve as
Executor / Administrator?
Who can legally contest the Will?
16. Those Denied In the State's Will
1. Life Partners
3. Those people not in line in the priority list
Step-Children; non-adopted children
5. Organizations and Institutions
6. Business Partners
7. Specific Gifts to Specific People
17. List of Who Gets Paid First
Funeral Home & Burial Costs
Attorney & Court Fees
Executor / Administrator Fees
Preferred Creditors (Government,
Non-preferred Creditors (everyone else)
Beneficiaries in Will (or Administration)
18. Facts About Wills
A Will isn’t public until you die and it is
submitted to the Surrogate’s Court.
The court only Probates original Wills
(photocopies need to be proven valid).
If a valid party cannot be found, the judge
appoints a “Guardian Ad Litem.”
If the “Testator” tells you one thing, but the Will
says something else, the Will wins.
Ex: Mom tells you that you get her jewelry, the Will
says your sister gets it your sister gets the jewelry.
No “Dead Man’s Rule” in New York.
19. MORE Facts About Wills
Minors (under 18 years old) cannot receive money
directly from a Will: GAL appointed.
You CANNOT completely disinherit your spouse:
They may elect to receive 1/3 of your TOTAL estate.
You CAN disinherit your children.
A valid Will is also valid in all 50 states, US
territories and many other countries.
Small bequests cost money to give out.
Execution (signing and witnessing) is just as
important as the actual contents of the Will.
20. Minors: Guardians and Money
Legal/Custodial Guardian: A child’s acting
Does NOT have to be a biological parent.
Makes daily decisions, has custody of child.
Financial Guardian: control’s child’s
Can be same as custodial.
Guardian Ad Litem (GAL): an attorney
appointed by the court to represent minors.
21. Parties to a Trust
Creator / Grantor / Settlor
> Creates the Trust
> Determines Terms of the Trust
> Funds the Trust
> Entitled to the property
under the terms of the Trust
> Manages the trust property
> Follows the Terms of the Trust
> Entitled to a Commission
22. The Trust / Trustee is named as the Owner of the property: this
“funds” the Trust:
(1) Deed for real estate
(2) bank or brokerage accounts
(3) Beneficiary o retirement plan or life insurance
How to Name a Trust as Owner of Accounts &Real Estate
The Deed to your house or vacation home in Florida or name of your
bank account is no longer in the name of Cindy Jones, but is instead
owned by The Revocable Trust of Cindy Jones.
Make sure to fund your Trust!
Funding A Trust
23. Wills v. Trusts - Pros
• Less Expensive to Draft • No Court Involvement
• No Additional Action or
• Private Between Grantor, Trustee
& Current Beneficiary
• No other action required
• Continuity of Asset Usage Upon
• Faster Distributions at Death
• Can Receive Life Insurance &
Retirement Plan Benefits
• Creditor Protection for Certain
24. Wills v. Trusts - Cons
• Public Document Upon Death • Additional expense to
Create the Document
• Additional Paperwork Required
• Requires Changing
Accounts and Beneficiary
Forms to Trust’s name
• Court Fees and Legal Fees
• Approval of Surrogate’s Court
• Public “Inventory” with Court
showing ALL Estate assets
25. • Protects from creditors: IRS,
Credit Cards, Ex-Spouses
• Stops mandatory distributions
until treatment is received
• Funds are protected from child’s
Beneficiary & Creditor Protection
26. Making Your Own Estate Plan
Good luck! But beware…
Document content is tricky: You don’t always
know what you don’t know.
Execution of documents is equally as
important as actual content.
Any mistake has no attorney advocate to
substantiate the original intent (no skilled
Some mistakes cost 5X as much to fix as
doing it right in the first place…
…and some mistakes can’t be fixed at all.
27. Do It Yourselfers: What to Watch
1. Realize that many of your assets will not pass through your Will.
2. Let the Executor of your Will know who and where your closest
(blood) relatives are.
3. Make a list of all your valuable personal property and share it with
4. Let the “right” people know where your original Will is located.
5. Do NOT leave assets directly to disabled persons.
6. Take proper precautions for children (create trusts in the Will).
7. Provide money to pay for your last illness, funeral expenses,
income tax, and administration of your estate.
8. Get rid of small bequests: Only leave larger bequests in your Will.
9. Keep the Will simple and do not cut out relatives who would
otherwise receive under Intestacy (if so, see an attorney).
Legal Assistance / NY State Bar
Association – general information on
obtaining legal assistance
www.nysba.org or www.LawHelp.org/ny
Careful: Complex Wills require the expertise of an
29. Putting It All Together
Certified Financial PlannersTM
(CFPs®)are trained financial
professionals that required to
meet certain Experience,
Examination, Education and
They are trained in the financial
planning process and bring
together multiple components of
your financial lives (Ex: estate
planning, retirement planning, risk
30. Putting It All Together (cont’d.)
Frequently, they work together with other experts
such as Attorneys, Insurance Agents and CPAs to
help ensure the various components work together.
Titling and designating beneficiaries for your
brokerage, retirement and savings accounts to
align with your Will.
A CFP® working with an Attorney and CPA to
structure your Estate to minimize estate and
income tax consequences.
31. Daniel Timins, Esq., CFP®
Law Offices of Daniel Timins, P.C.
Wills, Estate Planning and Elder Law
Questions & Answers31
Mark Sallinger, CFP®
Financial Asset Management
Financial Planning and Wealth
For more information about the Financial Planning Association of New York visit