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Berwitz & DiTata LLP Gets Favorable Decision in Court

A Step Ahead is intended to provide our clients, friends and family with information that we believe is of interest to them concerning estate planning, retirement planning, Medicaid, guardianships, probate and estate administration and the practical considerations of caring for those who are aging, blind or disabled. However, Berwitz & DiTata LLP also represents many...

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Gifting in 2013

As we approach the end of another year, we have been asked by clients whether 2013 should be a year in which they make gifts. Gifting is usually thought of as a tax saving strategy, but whether it should be implemented to reduce future estate tax liability or for some other purpose, gifting and the...

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Wills and Revocable Living Trusts

A Last Will and Testament, known simply as a Will, is a formal legal document governed by strict statutory requirements. It directs how a deceased person’s property and assets will be legally distributed to named individuals and entities. People often misunderstand how property is transferred after death. They believe that when they name their spouse,...

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James Gandolfini

Some topics are meant to be private. This list should include “what happens with my money and property when I pass away.” People are generally unaware that a Last Will and Testament is a public record. After you die, if a Last Will and Testament is the means by which your estate is administered, your...

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Same Sex Marriage Update August 2013

On June 26, 2013, in United States v. Windsor, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. Section 3 of DOMA defined the terms “marriage” as a union between a man and a woman and “spouse” as a person of the opposite sex...

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Hidden Pitfalls of Joint Ownership

It is not uncommon for an elder parent to add an adult child’s name to his or her checking or savings account, or to any other asset, thereby making the child a joint owner. While this is often done for convenience purposes, it can have serious, unexpected and undesirable consequences. Since the child legally owns...

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Your Responsibilities as Agent Under a Power of Attorney

We have, from time to time, addressed the importance of creating a power of attorney in our quarterly newsletter “A Step Ahead.” Through a power of attorney the “principal” authorizes an “agent” to manage property and make financial and business decisions on behalf of the principal. When an agent accepts his or her appointment, a...

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The Importance of Reviewing Beneficiary Designations

Having a well drafted last will and testament and/or trust is only the first step to comprehensive estate planning. A proper estate plan is not the result of a singular event. It is an ongoing process, affected by life events, relationships, births and deaths and changes in assets. To be truly effective, an estate plan...

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Hidden Pitfalls of Naming a Minor as an IRA Beneficiary

Naming someone as the beneficiary of your IRA or other retirement account can be a wonderful way to provide for a loved one after you have passed away. Often, the people we name as beneficiaries of our IRA accounts are our children and/or grandchildren. This is a powerful planning tool for the named beneficiary as...

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