For many New York families, their pets are like children. When they consider estate planning, they naturally include their beloved pets in those plans to ensure proper care. Are wills the most appropriate way to address these issues, or should they establish pet trusts instead?
After several lawsuits were filed against Ed Norton's production company, Class 5, the actor and director now claim that the owner of the New York building in which a fire broke out last March is responsible. This premises liability lawsuit follows a fire that broke out in the basement of the building where filming on "Motherless Brooklyn" took place. It led to a firefighter's death and severe property damage.
Investors in New York might know how they would prefer to have their assets distributed after death, but they might have questions about the most appropriate way to plan it. One way to do this is by adding trusts to their estate planning, similar to adding a specialized tool to a toolbox for a specific purpose. The specifications of an irrevocable trust cannot be modified, but a revocable trust can be modified as often as the grantor wants during his or her lifetime.
The circumstances and dynamics of each New York family are unique, and so are their estate planning requirements. Fortunately, tools such as revocable trusts are available to meet the needs of all. They are particularly useful for blended families in which both parties come into the marriage with their assets and children from previous relationships, and children might be born in the new union.
With many marriages in New York and other states ending in divorce, it is only natural for parents to want to protect their children's inheritances from being subject to property division in a divorce settlement. Some parents find that establishing trusts is the most appropriate way to do this. Including a trust in estate planning can provide peace of mind to a parent who wants his or her child to have something on which to fall back if the marriage should end.
People in New York who want to get their affairs in order by establishing estate plans might have questions about the available options. What is the purpose of creating trusts, and what are the differences between living and revocable trusts? Is an irrevocable trust perhaps the suitable option? Setting up a trust is a way of protecting assets, and appointing a trustee to manage them after the owner's death or incapacitation.
Pets have become loved ones of many New York families, and making sure they will continue to receive loving care if their owners should die or become incapacitated is something that can form part of estate planning. Trusts can be set up for dogs, cats, hamsters, birds, lizards, snakes, turtles and other pets -- not to forget a beloved horse or pony. A pet trust can ensure that funds are available for routine and emergency veterinary care, boarding, feeding, grooming costs and more.
New York parents may have concerns about children with special needs who might outlive them. Naming a disabled child as a beneficiary in a will may not be the best option because it could jeopardize that person's eligibility for government support programs. Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income and other government programs like subsidized housing and job training typically have restrictions on the income of disabled individuals. However, parents can establish special needs trusts by which they can earmark assets to provide support before and after their deaths.
New York residents who have invested in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies might have questions about how best to treat these assets in their estate plans. Bequeathing digital holdings is significantly more complicated than other property or cash. However, one thing that seems clear is that, when it comes to choosing to do it via wills or trusts, trusts might be the wiser choice.
Most people tend to avoid thoughts about their own mortality. However, New York parents of young children should consider the possibility that an accident or illness might claim their lives before their children reach adulthood. Such thoughts might bring up many questions about wills, trusts and investment accounts, and the pros and cons of each option.