The Latest News March 2015


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Why You Need a Will Regardless of the Size of Your Estate

Posted On: March 23, 2015
Failing to plan your estate can create challenges for your
survivors in the long run. That’s why everyone needs
a will regardless of the size of your estate.

Wills are often viewed as tools of the wealthy for ensuring an estate stays intact and assets are distributed to chosen heirs in a particular way. If you are someone with very few assets or assets that are of little to average value, you might assume a will is unnecessary. Unfortunately, failing to plan your estate can create challenges for your survivors in the long run.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than half a million elder Americans are victims of financial elder abuse on an annual basis. This number is expected to increase as the Baby Boomer generation ages and there are more seniors needing care and supervision. If you want to protect your estate, even if it is what you consider average or below average, or you have non-financial assets to protect, you must create a will.

You Need a Will If You are a Parent
First and foremost, no matter your net worth or assets, if you are a parent you need to create a will. This ensures that if you – and your partner if he or she shares parenting responsibilities – are unable to care for your children, a guardian of your choice will be appointed. There is a chance your children will end up in the care of this person anyway, but why risk it? Stating your wishes in a will shortens the legal process and avoids any questions.

In addition to providing instructions regarding the care of your children, a will can also be used to minimize the taxes owed on your estate and potentially avoid the lengthy probate process. Taxes on estates can be as high as 50%, but an attorney experienced in estate planning can help you create an arrangement that protects as much of your estate as possible from Uncle Sam.

You Need a Will Even If You Do Not Own a Home
If you own any possessions at all and you want them to be given to specific people upon your death, you must create a will. Even if your estate amounts to nothing more than a cell phone and a few baseball cards, if you want to appoint an heir, a will is necessary. Without one, the state chooses your heirs and determines how much each receives.

You Need a Will Now, Not When You are Older or Unhealthy
You want to create a will as soon a possible because in addition to protecting your estate, it creates a legally binding plan for your own care. Though you might think a will is not necessary until you are older or a parent, this document is used to guide decisions about your health care in the event of an accident or illness. This is known as durable power of attorney for healthcare and it ensures your wishes are honored if you suffer unexpected injuries or illnesses that prevent you from communicating your wishes in real-time. This includes whether to use life-sustaining measures to prolong your life.

Durable power of attorney can also apply to financial issues. A will allows you to assign power of attorney to a trusted relative, friend, or even your lawyer. He or she will be in charge of making decisions about your money on your behalf.

Not sure where to begin when it comes to creating your will? An attorney can help you with important decisions and the creation of a document that will be accepted by the legal system in your state.

If you want to protect your family, and alleviate your concerns about “what happens”, call Concetta Spirio at 631-277-8844 today to learn about the benefits of having a Trusts, Wills and Estates attorney on your side. This is a no obligation initial consultation with personal service.



Concetta Spirio to speak at the 2015 NALS of NY Meeting

Posted On: March 09, 2015

Concetta Spirio, a highly experienced family and divorce attorney, will be speaking at the 2015 NALS of New York Annual Meeting and Educational Conference, hosted by: NALS of Suffolk County… the association for legal professionals on April 18, 2015. Concetta Will be speaking on the topic of DIVORCE: THE DIFFERENCE AND BENEFITS OF MEDIATION AND COLLABORATION V.S. LITIGATION.



Posted On: March 03, 2015

This press release came our way and the information is so important we wanted to share it with you:

Contact: Neal Patel (Heller): 202-224-6244; Rachel McCleery (Stabenow): 202-224-4822

Senators Heller, Stabenow Introduce Legislation to Eliminate Unfair Tax Bills.
Bipartisan Legislation Will Ensure Mortgage Forgiveness Is Not Taxed as Income.

At present Home owners in foreclosure could face an enormous tax bill if they negotiate a reduction of their debt with the lender. There is now hope that will not be the case for 2015 and 2016 Senators Heller and Stabenow have once again introduced legislation to extend the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act for another 2 years (covering 2015 and 2016).

According to a recent press release, U.S. Senators Dean Heller (R-NV) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure, when homeowners work with their banks to reduce their mortgage payments, those homeowners will not be hit with a huge tax bill. Without this legislation, homeowners will be required to pay additional taxes when they receive mortgage principal forgiveness on their homes or sell their homes in what are commonly called “short sales.”

“Unless Congress acts, those who are underwater in their homes and have received financial relief for their mortgage could be forced to pay a tax on income they never received. This makes no sense, and the legislation Senator Stabenow and I introduced ensures it won’t happen,” said Senator Dean Heller. “As a member of the Senate Finance Committee I look forward to finding a vehicle to pass this important legislation.”

“It is bad enough that so many families are faced with mortgages that now exceed the value of their home,” said Senator Stabenow. “But to add insult to injury, without this bipartisan legislation, the IRS would require that families willing to work with their lenders pay hundreds or thousands of dollars in additional income tax when they sell or refinance their home. That’s just wrong.”

Declining home prices and rising foreclosure rates have forced many families to sell their homes for less than they paid for them, and sometimes for less than the outstanding debt. The IRS formerly taxed any loan forgiveness provided to homeowners as “income,” meaning underwater families were paying thousands of dollars in income tax for phantom income that wasn’t actual money the family had earned.

While the housing market is beginning to recover, short sales and foreclosures continue. More than one in six (the rate is 16.9%) American homeowners are currently underwater on their mortgages.

Sens. Stabenow and Heller have worked together several times to extend a provision that would protect homeowners from having mortgage relief taxed as income, most recently in the Tax Increase Prevention Act, which extended the tax break through 2014. Their new legislation will extend the current moratorium on taxing mortgage forgiveness through 2016.