The great comedic actor Gene Wilder recently passed away from Alzheimer's disease complications at 83 years old. He wanted people to best remember him for the laughter he brought audiences in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles, among others, so he kept his condition out of the public eye.
New York basketball fans may be interested in learning about the legal battle that's brewing in Oklahoma City over the ownership of that city's NBA team. A 20 percent share in the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team is in dispute. The interest was held by an oil and gas mogul who died in a car crash on March 2. His creditors want the stake in the basketball team to be sold to the highest bidder to pay for debts, but there is concern among creditors that it will instead be sold to his wife for a lower price.
When New York residents become incapacitated and unable to make decisions for themselves, the probate court may place them under guardianship. While a guardianship is beneficial for some people, others are handled abusively, leaving families trying to figure out what to do about it.
The thought of having an estate go through probate could be worrisome for some New York residents, especially if there is a significant possibility of some potential heirs disputing the distribution of assets as outlined in a will. Avoiding probate can save both time and money, and some of the potential stresses and contentions might be minimized as well. Further, avoiding probate can protect the privacy of those involved. However, it is important to understand the steps needed to limit the risk of a drawn-out probate process.
Wills written by New Yorkers aren't always probated as smoothly as possible following the deaths of the testators. In some cases, survivors and beneficiaries get into legal spats over the validity of wills and other estate documents. Valid concerns such as potential fraud, the mental state of the testator or the existence of other wills can all be used to initiate disputes that impact the process of distributing the testator's property.
When a person dies, whether or not there is a will, the decedent's estate will be subject to the probate laws for the distribution of his or her assets. Probate laws exist in order to protect creditors, beneficiaries and heirs, and the probate process involves making certain taxes and debts are paid as well as passing assets to beneficiaries or heirs.
New York residents unhappy with their tax burden may wish to spare a thought for some of their neighbors. Connecticut has raised several state taxes and fees to bridge large budget gaps, and the increases have been implemented retroactively to Jan. 1, 2015. Among the most contentious tax and fee hikes are changes to the probate fee structure that have led to tenfold increases in fees for many estates. While many wealthy Connecticut residents are now said to be thinking about moving out of the state, observers feel that growing financial pressures will prompt other states to impose similar measures.
Trusts are important components of many New York residents' estate plans, especially for those people who own many high-value assets. These estate planning tools can help beneficiaries to avoid taxes and probate fees while performing other functions like protecting financially irresponsible heirs from receiving a sudden windfall. Although trusts can be very useful in a variety of circumstances, they are not always necessary for every estate.
Retired New York residents who are considering a move to Connecticut may want to think twice. On July 1, probate fees in Connecticut were doubled for estates worth at least $2 million. With probate fees at .05 percent of an estate, Connecticut is now the most expensive state to inherit money in.
New York residents have probably heard about the early death of Whitney Houston's daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown. Now, estate planning experts are speculating about whether Whitney Houston could have done something to protect Bobbi Kristina by structuring her will in a different way. Bobbi Kristina was 18 years old when her mother died at the age of 48, and she was the main benefactor of her mother's $20 million fortune.