End of Year Estate and Gift Tax Planning Considerations 2018

  As the end of the year approaches, there are a number of planning techniques that individuals can consider implementing before December 31, and after the first of the year, to take advantage of estate and gift tax savings opportunities. Gifts to Individuals Individuals may gift away a certain amount of assets to other individuals […]


New York State Right of Election

  What is the Right of Election? New York’s Spousal Right of Election protects a surviving spouse from being completely disinherited from the estate of the deceased spouse.  Under EPTL 5-1.1A, a surviving spouse is entitled to take the larger of $50,000 or one-third (1/3) of the deceased spouse’s net estate.  This is known as […]


What’s New in Estate and Gift Taxes Under the Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

As many are likely very aware, the end of 2017 brought with it new tax reform that took effect January 1, 2018. The Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “Act”) made many revisions to the tax code in the first significant reform to the tax code since 1986.  This article will focus on the […]


Is Estate Planning Important for Young Adults?

For many young adults, the consequences of not having an estate plan in place can be dire.  Estate planning is not only tax and probate avoidance, but it is planning for your lifetime and incapacity as well. One tragic case that many people are familiar with is that of Terry Schiavo. Terry Schiavo was a […]


Estate Planning for Single People

While discussions for estate planning often focus on married couples, estate planning for a single person is equally as important. In many instances, a single person may need to do things differently and the consequences of not having a well-coordinated plan can create real problems. Most single people own assets in their names individually and […]


New York Able Accounts Open For Business

State of New York has become the 27th state in the nation to launch an ABLE program. The New York ABLE Program, named NY ABLE, is administered by the Office of the New York State Comptroller, managed by Ascensus Broker Dealer Services, Inc. and backed by Vanguard, Sallie Mae and Fifth Third Bank. NY ABLE […]


Selecting the Appropriate Trustee of Your Trust

  When you are selecting a trustee as part of the trust creation process, you need to ensure that you select the right person. The trustee has many different responsibilities and serves a vitally important role. Before you decide who will fulfill this position, you need to understand what trustees are actually responsible for and […]


Special Needs Fairness Act Approved in New York

A First Party Special Needs Trust is a very powerful tool that allows an individual with a disability to protect a large sum of money from counting against them with regard to qualifying for needs based governmental programs, such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  By federal law, a First Party Special Needs Trust […]


Why Do I Need a Living Will AND a Health Care Proxy?

  One of the more common questions we deal with in the initial interview with many clients is why they need both a living will and a health care proxy.  The answer to this question is quite simple but a background on what each document specifically does is useful. Health Care Proxy The health care […]


Legal, financial issues for people who have chronic diseases or a child with special needs

Estate planning is especially important for those who have a chronic disease or a child with a disability, says lawyer Tim Doolittle, from the Wladis Law Firm in East Syracuse. He gives an overview of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, trusts, guardianships and other related matters. More information can be found through these links: on special needs […]