1.   How did you become a KonMari consultant? 

Following a long career as a psychotherapist, I discovered my passion for organizing after organizing my own home using the KonMari Method. KonMari worked so well for me in my own home, I decided I wanted to help others achieve the same result.

After completing the KonMari training, I started my own business. Once I had a certain number of client sessions documented, I took an exam and became certified!  I’m now a Master Level Certified KonMari consultant.

Continue Reading KonMari consultant explains the organizing / cleaning method that took the world by storm!

Unlike federal law, New York State does not have a gift tax. However, up until December 31, 2018, New York State required decedents to include all gifts made within three years of death in their New York State taxable estates. As a result of a recent legislative change, this add-back rule no longer applies to decedents with dates of death after January 1, 2019.

The result is that a New York State resident may choose to gift away all of their assets during their life, and these assets will not be added back to their gross estate. Unfortunately, one must remember that New York State law and federal law differ.

Continue Reading Recent Change to New York State Estate Tax: Gift Tax

Different forms of ownership frequently result in assets being passed by operation of law, and not according to the wishes stated in the Last Will and Testament. It is crucially important to discuss with your attorney your specific wishes and the current forms of ownership of your assets.

Property: Joint ownership of both real and personal property has been recognized for centuries. Three forms of joint ownership are recognized in New York:

1. Tenancy in Common.

Continue Reading Common Forms of Ownership of Property and Financial Accounts

I am excited to announce the addition of DANIEL J. REITER, ESQ to my firm!

Daniel joins Sverdlov Law PLLC as Of Counsel. I have also joined Daniel’s firm as Of Counsel.

Our top priority has always been quality of our work and stellar client service and results. Our new Of Counsel relationship allows us to offer an enhanced array of estate, trust, special needs, and elder legal services to the community.

Continue Reading New Addition to my Firm

Medical aid in dying is the process by which an adult, mentally competent, terminally ill patient, whose doctors have determined likely to die within six months, self-consumes prescribed medicines to end suffering and achieve a peaceful death. There are currently legislative efforts in New York State to establish Medical Aid in Dying as a right.

Has it been tried before? Medical Aid in Dying has been legal in both Oregon and Washington for over a decade. Evidence compiled from these two states demonstrates that these programs are overwhelmingly beneficial. There is no evidence of disproportionate impact on vulnerable populations – the majority of patients who choose aid in dying have health insurance and most are college educated.

Continue Reading What is the Medical Aid in Dying Act?

In New York, banks will seal a safe deposit box following the death of an owner or co-owner. The bank will then only allow the safe deposit box to be opened after a Court issues an order to that effect. The following are the steps you must take:

1. Identify an interested party who can petition the court. An interested party can be the  decedent’s spouse, beneficiary or a named fiduciary in the Will.

Continue Reading How Do You Open a Safe Deposit Box After Death?

After an Executor gets appointed in an Estate, the Executor must fulfill his duties by timely marshalling of all assets, paying all known creditors and distributing the remaining money to beneficiaries. While this is what is supposed to happen, quite often it does not.

When should you petition the court to compel an Accounting by an Executor? You can do so when you believe that Executor has withheld information, or has engaged in some sort of wrongdoing (such as self-dealing or asset mismanagement). Stealing funds from the estate, selling estate property for an artificially low price, or not distributing any money for years are all good reasons to petition the court.

Who may petition the court to compel an accounting? SPCA 2205 lists individuals and entities who may petition.

Continue Reading It’s been 3 years since my father’s death and I have not received a penny from my sister who was the appointed Executor! Should I compel an accounting?

Probate or Administration: In New York, if the decedent had a Will and had assets that did not pass by operation of law (such as joint property with rights of survivorship or accounts with beneficiary designations), then the Will must be “probated” and an Executor must be appointed. If the decedent did not have a Will and had assets that did not pass by operation by law, then an Administrator must be appointed.

Who can file a Petition: In order to bring a petition of Probate or Administration to court, you must have standing. If the decedent had a Will, then the nominated Executor will be the one filing the petition. If there is no Will, then SCPA 1001 determines who has priority in becoming the Administrator of the Estate.
Continue Reading How Can I Become an Administrator or an Executor of an Estate?

Essential components of every estate plan, regardless of client’s net worth, include a Will, a Power of Attorney, and a Health Care Proxy. Some circumstances require the use of a Trust (for the purposes of special needs planning, asset protection, Medicaid/elder care planning, estate tax mitigation, and probate avoidance). Those with potentially taxable estates may consider strategies such as gifting, annuity trusts, charitable trusts, life insurance trusts, personal residence trusts, installment sales and promissory notes.

A financial advisor should work together with your attorney to figure out the plan that is most appropriate for your individual situation. Since most people see their financial advisors more frequently than their attorneys, it falls to the financial advisor to oversee that the plan developed with the attorney is actually implemented and remains appropriate.

Continue Reading 6 Ways to Coordinate Your Estate Planning with Your Financial Advisor