The purpose if this website is to to help people understand the Probate process in the State of New York, and Probate the Last Will and Testament of a deceased person without hiring a lawyer.
Another purpose of this website is to help people make a Simple Will and other basic documents, such as a New York Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy and Living Will, and a few other basic documents, for free.
Another purpose of this website is to provide related information about other topics related to planning your Estate, such as how taxes might effect your legacy. For example, as a general rule, any money or property which people inherit is not subject to any taxes. That’s right: if you inherit a million dollars, you don’t have to pay taxes on that money. One of the biggest and most important exceptions to that rules is with IRA’s. The reason is that with an IRA or 401(k) or many other retirement plans, the participant made contributions to the plan with “pre-tax” dollars. That means any money which someone puts into their IRA during the years is not included in the person’s “gross wages” on their income tax returns, so it is not taxed. But, as you know, when someone starts taking distributions from that IRA when they retire, now that money goes on the person’s income tax return, and is taxed at that time. That’s when the IRS gets their money. And the same rule applies when someone dies: when the IRA is distributed, the IRS wants their money. Now, there are various ways to put off paying these taxes into the future, and those ways require some pre-planning to setup.
But where an IRA does not have a beneficiary, which happens more frequently that you might imagine, then some complicated tax rules apply. I will give some information about those rules on this website, but it’s not an area which most people should be handling themselves. If there’s a lot of money on the table (and what “a lot of money” means is always relevant to your financial situation), it’s a good idea to see a lawyer.