Cona Elder Law




A senior citizen reviewing legal documents with her elder law attorney

When you’re planning for the future, it’s important to take a step back to see the big picture. Even the most well-intentioned gift could have negative unintended repercussions and cause your loved ones unnecessary strife and grief. For example, if you leave a child, grandchild, or loved one a significant amount of money, it could leave them on the hook for an unintended – but hefty - tax bill.

The estate tax attorneys at Cona Elder Law offer an array of legal solutions and tools designed to help your vision of the future come to life without negative tax consequences. We’ll help you develop and execute a plan to avoid or minimize estate taxes, which is a critical component of comprehensive estate planning.

What is Asset Protection Planning for Seniors?

Asset protection planning for older adults focuses on protecting assets from the high costs of long-term care, such as nursing home care, home care and assisted living costs. This can be accomplished by moving funds, real estate and other assets into an irrevocable trust. However, asset protection planning only works before you have incurred a debt to a creditor, such as a healthcare facility or provider. In most cases, assets must be transferred to an irrevocable living trust 5 years in advance. Accordingly, early planning is key.

Why Is Estate Tax Planning Necessary?

Both New York State and the federal government impose an estate tax on the value of an individual’s estate upon death.

The federal and state estate tax limits fluctuate based on the tax laws and political climate. 

Clients need to be constantly vigilant and in touch with their trusted estate attorneys at Cona Elder Law to be sure their plan is up to date.

What IS Included in the Value of THE Estate?

The value of your estate for estate tax purposes includes everything that you own or hold in your name, whether individually or jointly with someone else, as well as everything over which you have control. This includes:
Jointly held assets, Life insurance proceeds (including group life insurance you receive through your union or employer), Retirement accounts, Assets in certain types of trusts that you created or that were created for your benefit.

Your estate will receive certain deductions, such as:
Expenses incurred while administering your estate, Debts paid after you pass away (including funeral expenses), Assets that are left outright to your spouse (so long as your spouse is a United States citizen) and Assets left to a qualified charity.

Gift Taxes

In addition to an estate tax, the federal government imposes a gift tax on gifts made by an individual during their lifetime. The gift tax is imposed on the person giving the gift, not the person receiving the gift.

The estate tax exemption amount is also the lifetime gift tax exemption amount. This means that your estate tax exemption amount will be reduced by the total amount of gifts you made during your lifetime.

Annual Gift Tax Exclusion

Each year, you can make gifts to anyone you want, up to a certain amount per person, exempt from any gift tax. This amount is referred to as the annual gift tax exclusion. Lifetime gifts can help reduce your taxable estate.

Presently, a person may gift $15,000 per year (30,000 for a married couple) to anyone without incurring federal or New York gift tax and without reducing the amount you can pass to your heirs at death.

Contact the Estate Tax Planning Attorneys at Cona Elder Law

In addition to the previously mentioned estate tax planning tools, we have several methods and legal instruments to help reduce or avoid estate taxes. However, in order to utilize these tools, proper planning is essential to make sure your objectives are realized.

The professional estate tax planning attorneys at Cona Elder Law bring decades of experience helping people like you leave inheritances to their loved ones while reducing their estate tax liability.

We are proud to have been ranked as the #1 Elder Law Firm on Long Island for 8 consecutive years by Long Island Business News. We will use our collective experience to help you create a plan so you and your loved ones can avoid paying hefty estate taxes. Contact us at 631-619-2533 to learn more.

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