Let's talk about Beneficiary Designations
Welcome to Frank Bruno Law! I am Frank Bruno. I am an elder law and estate planning attorney in Queens, New York. I’ve been serving Queens and the surrounding counties for more than 20 years. Today I would like to speak to you about beneficiary designations. Before I do that, I’d like to let you know if you want to meet with me, if you have a question, if you’d like to speak with me on the phone please check out my website www.frankbrunolaw.com and you can find my scheduling page at www.callfrankbruno.com. Beneficiary designations, what are they? Well, life insurance policies, annuities, and retirement accounts allow you to designate a beneficiary. That means upon your death, the sums of money within those financial instruments goes directly to your beneficiary. There is a pro to that. The pros are you avoid the cost and the delay associated with probate. It’s also not a public event, all the beneficiary has to do is produce a death certificate provided to that institution and the money will be given directly to them. Now there’s a con, the con is that the beneficiary designation will defeat your will or trust. It happens by operation of law; meaning it’s automatic. Now it is a very useful technique within a larger estate plan. You may very well want to avoid probate and the costs associated but you have to determine within the grand scheme. What you want to do and how you want to do it? Now who can be a beneficiary and who can you designate? Well, it could be your spouse, it could be your children, it could be your charitable organization, it could be your significant other. It could be your own trust or whoever you want to name. I will tell you that you should keep your beneficiary designations up to date and some of the milestone events in your life like births, deaths, remarriage. You would be in significant trouble if you left your ex-spouse as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy. I don’t think too many people would want to do that. Again, if you need to speak with me, if you’d like to speak with me, please go to www.callfrankbruno.com. Thank you!
How do I create a trust?
Welcome to Frank Bruno law! I am Frank Bruno. How do we create a trust? How do we create a trust? Well a trust is created by a settlor, s-e-t-t-l-o-r or we call that person a grantor. The settlor creates the trust and takes property and money or physical real property and places it into the trust. The settlor names a trustee. The trustee acts on behalf of the trust for the benefit of the beneficiary or multiple beneficiaries. What else could I say about it? If money or property is never placed into a trust, then it’s not funded and the trust really is a useless document; so we have to fund it. It’s created from a settlor, you have a trustee who manages the trust and the affairs of the trust and then you have beneficiaries and those are the three-party participants, or the people involved in the trust. What else? A trustee can be compensated, a trust can be an individual person, or it could be a corporate trustee. The trustee has a fiduciary responsibility. So that’s how you create a trust. If you would like me to create a trust for you, please reach out to me. If you have a trust and you want to discuss amendments or discuss how your trust works within the context of your comprehensive plan, please reach out to me at www.frankbrunolaw.com. Thank you!
What is an Estate?
Welcome to Frank Bruno Law! I’m Frank Bruno. Today I’d like to speak with you about your estate. What is an estate? What can I let you know? If you have a question, if you’d like to set an appointment, please go to www.callfrankbruno.com. Set a time, we can speak on the phone or in person. Well, what is an estate? We hear of estate planning, what are we planning? Well, an estate consists of all your personal property such as jewelry, comic book collection, baseball cards, Hummels, figurines, all those personal items, real property, the personal residence that you live in, any investment property that you may have, stocks and bonds, mutual funds, any kind of investment account, 401k, 403b, any retirement accounts that’s part of your state. Cash, money in the bank, green cash, gold cash, gold nuggets or regular checking or savings account, annuities, insurance policies, and all your stuff that consists of your estate. Again, if you need to speak with me, if you’d like to set an appointment, please go to www.callfrankbruno.com. Thank you!
Who Needs an Estate Plan?: The Butcher, The Baker and The Candlestick Maker
Welcome to Frank Bruno Law! I am Frank Bruno. I’m an elder law and estate planning attorney in New York. Today I want to tell you about two conversations that I had yesterday that I think people would benefit from. Before I get to that, if you’d like to book an appointment, to speak with me in person or on the phone, please go to www.callfrankbruno.com. Yesterday, I had a telephone call with a gentleman I know from the real estate industry and he said Frank I’ve been watching your Facebook videos both me and my wife. He said I’m 68 years old, is this for me? So I said yes. Yes you’re a young, vibrant 68 years old, you’re still in the workforce, you’re healthy. Yes! You need to plan now, and it is for you. We had a little conversation and he told me that he had a Will and gave me some specifics about the Will, and I said that really could be a fine plan. It could really be good but it does not anticipate any need for long-term care so he and his wife are going to come in and we’re going to go through the ins and outs and the challenges that may be ahead. Later in the day, I had a 29-year-old single woman with two children come in and she also needs a plan right? She doesn’t need the same plan, but she needs a plan specific for her and for her children. Both of her children are under 18, they’re minors, so yes she also needs a plan. We all need a plan! The butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker. If you would like to speak with me, if you have any questions, please go to www.callfrankbruno.com. Like and share this post, give me a like, I think you could like my law office that would be helpful, and I look forward to speaking to you soon!
Safety Deposit Boxes
Welcome to Frank Bruno Law! I’m Frank Bruno. I’m an elder law and estate planning attorney in Queens New York. I’ve been serving Queens and the surrounding counties for the past 20 years. Today, I want to speak about an interview that I conducted yesterday. The situation that came up that I think many of my listeners could benefit from. But first, if you have a question for me, if you’d like to have a consultation, please go to www.callfrankbruno.com and schedule an appointment. Yesterday, I conducted an interview with a woman. An elderly woman and her adult daughter and we reviewed some documents that she brought to me including a photocopy of her will. I reviewed the will and we discussed what had changed and what her present needs were. Along the way, I asked where the original will was and the original will is in a safe deposit box. I’d like to mention; you really need to have either another person be a co-owner of the safe deposit box or you should take the Will out of the safe deposit box and place it in another safe location or home. Maybe a fireproof box. When the time comes that the original Will is necessary upon the passing of the Will holder, the original has to be produced and that original Will be difficult to get from the safe deposit box if you don’t have a co-owner. It will involve a proceeding in Surrogates’ Court. We make an application to have the Box opened. It’s a proceeding that comes at a time when you don’t really need to have any extra effort, any extra time spent, it will be a delay and there will be a cost associated with it. So please safeguard the Last Will at home. If you have any other questions, if you’d like to meet with me, please go to www.callfrankbruno.com. Thank you!
Estate Planning for Unmarried Same-Sex Couples
Welcome to Frank Bruno Law! I’m Frank Bruno. I’m an estate planning and elder law attorney located in Queens, New York. I’ve been serving the community for more than 20 years. Today, I’d like to speak to you about an interview I conducted today with a same-sex couple. An unmarried same-sex couple but first if you’d like to make an appointment with me, please go to www.callfrankbruno.com. If you’d like to see my website, take a look at my blog posts, and articles that are written, please go to www.frankbrunolaw.com. Today, I interviewed a couple. An unmarried couple that wanted to plan together. Well, it certainly is possible to have the desire and the reasons to want to plan together but an unmarried couple cannot have a joint trust. We talked about a number of other things that they could do such as beneficiary designations, leaving each other in the will, putting each other as trustees of a trust, but singles have no set person that’s identified as their partner and therefore they can’t be holders of a joint trust. We also discussed the health care proxy power of attorney, living Will, and trusts. This among many other things can be discussed at my office. If you have a question, if you’d like to speak with me, if you’d like to set an appointment, please go to www.callfrankbruno.com. Thank you!
First Post in a Multi-Part Series on Trusts
Welcome to Frank Bruno Law! I’m Frank Bruno. I’m an estate planning and elder law attorney located in Queens, New York. Today, I’d like to start a multi-part series on trusts. What is a trust? But first, if you’d like to set an appointment with me, if you’d like to speak on the phone, please go to www.callfrankbruno.com. What is a trust? Well, I’d like to give you some information about this area of the law. I will tell you that it’s a very broad and deep area of law. It’s an area that I’ve studied for years. I’ve gone to many trainings, week-long training sessions at a time, and have practiced in this field for a long time so we can’t get everything at once and we’re gonna take small little bites and together, we’ll explain a little bit about trusts and have you learn a little bit more so that you can make a sound decision about your own situation. Well, what is a trust? The legal terms for trusses, it’s a contract between the grantor, the trustee, and the beneficiaries. A grantor is a person that owns the asset. The trustee is the person that controls the trust. In certain trusts, it could be the same person. The beneficiaries, are the people that receive benefits from the Trust. There are two broad categories of trusts. One is called a testamentary trust and another set of trusts are called living trusts and we can describe those by thinking about a testamentary trust is created upon your death and a living trust is created while you’re living. A testamentary trust is created within your will and I want you to think about it like this. We call the title of the document, a will. It’s a last will and testament. So, within that document upon a person’s death, there can be created a testamentary trust. Now that Trust has no effect during the life of the person. It is created upon the person’s death and after an executor goes to surrogates court and has the will probated. So the situation with a testamentary Trust is that it’s not a useful document for disability and it’s not a useful document to avoid probate because it requires probate to exist. So that’s a testamentary Trust. There are more things I could say, it’s more detailed and complicated than that but as an initial discussion, that’s what I’m going to leave testamentary trusts. The other very broad category are living trusts. As the name implies although it’s not always intuitive. It’s created while you’re alive, while you’re living you create either a revocable or an irrevocable trust. Revocable means you could rip up the trust, you could revoke it whenever you wanted to. If you wanted to, there are consequences to that and circumstances but broadly that’s what revocable means. And there’s an irrevocable trust. That means once you put any assets into the trust, they can’t get back out of the trust without some difficulty. Alright, there might be a way that we can explode the trust or break it up or ultimately end it but really very concretely revocable can be revoked. Irrevocable cannot be revoked unless certain circumstances exist. If you have any further questions about this or any other related topic to elder law and estate planning, please go to www.callfrankbruno.com. You could also look at my website www.frankbrunolaw.com. I’m open to questions, comments, phone interviews, and in-person meetings. Thank you very much for your time and this is just the first of a multi-part series on trusts. Thank you!
Third Post of a Multi-Part Series on Trusts –SNT
Welcome to Frankl Bruno Law! I’m Frank Bruno. I’m an estate planning and elder law attorney located in Queens, New York. Today is part 3 of my series on trusts and if you have any questions on trusts or want to reach me, please go to www.callfrankbruno.com. Today we’re going to detour into the world of special needs trusts. There are two broad categories, pooled special needs trusts which are run by charitable organizations, and private special needs trusts. SNTs can also be called supplemental needs trusts. This is when a person either classified as disabled or with special needs either presently has or seeks to obtain government benefits such as Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid food stamps, house shelter allowances. Housing those government programs have strict resource limits and what a person needs to do is if they have large assets in their name, they need to put open up a special needs trust, put the assets into the special needs trust either continue with their government benefits or apply for government benefits and then use the assets within the special needs trust to supplement not supplant basic necessities. The money within the special needs trust cannot pay for food or shelter but it can pay for things like vacation education certain medical needs that aren’t covered by insurance and upon the applicant’s death there is a recovery by the government up to the amount of the asset that’s within the special needs trust. So, if you have any questions on special needs trusts or the area where to look, please reach out to me at www.callfrankbruno.com. Thank you!
Second Video in a Multi-Part Series on Trusts
Welcome to Frank Bruno Law! I’m Frank Bruno. I’m an estate planning and elder law attorney located in Queens, New York. Today will be part two of my bite-size series on trusts but first I can be reached at www.callfrankbruno.com for telephone or in-person consultations. Yesterday we learned that a trust is a contract. It’s a legal contract between a grantor, a trustee, and a beneficiary and that’s the legalese of the document. A trust is a legal document or a legal instrument created by an attorney and it’s similar in nature to a corporation in that it’s a separate entity that can own, hold, buy, or sell property according to a specific set of instructions. Now, it’s the specific set of instructions that sets a trust apart. The instructions is like a rule book, like an instruction manual for how a trustee will manage the trust. Now the grantor can set conditions for when the trustee can distribute assets to the beneficiaries. A set of conditions can be something like “upon my death, all of my assets go to this beneficiary or these series of beneficiaries ABCD”, however many different conditions that a grantor can set and dictate for a trustee to follow is “upon my beneficiary reaching the age of 25, I want this sum of money or this percentage of money to go to that person”, “upon the age of 35 I want the remaining sum of money to go”, or whatever the grantor wants to put into the trust. It’s specific and as unique as individuals are. Now that would be for either a revocable living trust or an irrevocable trust. The takeaway for today on a revocable living trust is that it’s a private document, it’s not open to public scrutiny, and that it doesn’t provide asset protection for the grantor during their life. It could provide asset protection to the beneficiaries so upon the grantor is death but that’s the key takeaway for today. A revocable living trust does not provide asset protection for a grantor. Okay, if you need to speak with me, I can be reached at www.callfrankbruno.com. Thank you!
A Durable Power of Attorney Cannot Limit the Actions of the Drafter Transcription:
Welcome to Frank Bruno Law! I’m Frank Bruno. I’m an estate planning and elder law attorney located in New York. How useful is a power of attorney? The document itself can be very useful for the limited purpose that it is designed for. I had an issue today where an elderly person with the onset of Alzheimer’s has been taking money out of her account. Her adult child with the durable power of attorney went to the bank to try to prevent the mother from overly withdrawing funds so the thing is, the daughter could pull money out, the daughter could use the power of attorney to actually take all of the funds out but the power of attorney cannot be used to limit the mother from taking her own money out of the account. So, the only way to prevent the mother from being able to access her very own account is for someone in the family to prosecute an adult guardianship. In article 81, guardianship, where some member of the family would go to the court and based on a set of stated facts such as my mother, is constantly taking money out of the account and taking it out inappropriately, taking the money out, squandering it, using it really in a way that’s not in her own best interest. So the durable attorney power of attorney is useful for the daughter to go to the bank for the mother. For the adult child to make financial transactions on the mother’s behalf but it does not permit the agent and the power of attorney to go to the bank of the financial institution and prevent the mother from acting against her own best interests. For that, the family member would have to do a guardianship. If you’d like to speak about any particular, please reach out to me at www.callfrankbruno.com. Thank you!