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Bronx Real Estate Law Blog

Wills one of several important documents in estate plan

Thinking about the possibility of death is not exactly a joyous process for many individuals. This is partly why many have failed to create wills and other estate planning documents. However, creating an estate plan is paramount for anyone who has assets, no matter how few or many. A few tips may help with navigating the estate planning process in New York.

A 2016 survey indicated that only 44 percent of adults in the United States have wills. However, a will is one of the most important components of any estate plan. This legal document essentially spells out how assets should be distributed when the person who owns these assets passes away.

Death is inevitable, so wills are important

The thought of dying is not generally a comforting thought, which is why estate planning is often placed on the back burner of people's busy agendas in New York. However, the truth is that death is inevitable. Thus, it simply makes sense to put together wills and other components of well-thought-out estate plans.

Research shows that about half of Americans who have children lack wills. In addition, nearly 75 percent of adults under 34 years old lack wills. Meanwhile, more than 40 percent of today's Baby Boomers lack wills.

Things to consider before closing on your new home

Purchasing a home in New York is an exciting time, but there are certain things you would be wise to do to ensure that you do not find yourself facing negative surprises down the road. Buying a house is one of the most important and expensive purchases you will make during your lifetime, and avoiding issues can save you a significant amount of stress, time and money. 

New homebuyers are prone to making mistakes during the transaction. However, simply securing the help you need from the very beginning of the process could help you avoid problems. Before closing, there are several things that you can do to protect your interests and shield yourself from unnecessary complications.

Wills important not just for the wealthy

A common myth related to estate planning in New York and elsewhere is that it applies only to asset owners who are wealthy. However, the truth is that creating wills can be beneficial for asset owners of all levels of wealth. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans do not have wills.

A recent survey indicated that out of over 1,000 Americans, 64 percent of them between the ages of 37 and 52 lacked wills. Although some individuals feel that they do not have enough assets to put together estate plans, they likely have at least one item that they wish to designate to someone else. This is why creating a will is so important: it helps to ensure that one's assets end up in the intended hands.

Wills important for naming guardians for minors

Parents with young children in New York are often caught up in their day-to-day routines and thus fail to take time to engage in estate planning. However, without wills, they cannot guarantee that their wishes for their minor children will be upheld in the event that the parents end up dying unexpectedly. With an estate plan, a parent can easily appoint a guardian for the surviving children.

Appointing a guardian is especially important if one parent dies and the other one is not involved in the children's lives. It can also come in handy if the living parent is unfit or estranged. Generally, anybody with connections to the children may apply to become their guardian in the correct probate court.

Residential real estate myths can be costly to believe

When wanting to sell a home in New York, homeowners naturally want to make a profit. However, what residential real estate owners expect or desire to happen may not always take place. A few pricing myths involving residential real estate transactions often prevent homeowners from selling their homes as quickly as they could.

One common myth is that the buyer always makes money when selling a home. Real estate does tend to appreciate with time, with the National Association of Realtors estimates that residential prices will increase by 5 percent by late 2017 and then will keep increasing by 3.5 percent next year. However, being able to sell homes for more than what was paid for them is never a given, and how much return on their investments that sellers receive really depends on where they live.

Wills important for those of all income levels

Having an estate plan in place is critical for individuals of all levels of net worth in New York. After all, wills -- important components of many estate plans -- specify how various assets will be distributed when the testator passes away. Thus, anyone with assets -- whether large or small -- can benefit from have estate plans.

In addition to creating an estate plan, updating the plan regularly is critical. This is especially so for wealthy individuals with holdings in multiple states and/or countries. Laws and regulations are always being created, which may provide opportunities or present obstacles. Staying on top of these laws is paramount for ensuring that an existing estate plan is accurate and continues to reflect to testator's wishes.

Wills especially important for women

In general, men usually pass away sooner than women do. Since women live longer and might not have made as much money over the course of their lifetimes, they have unique needs when it comes to creating wills and other estate planning documents. A few tips may help women as well as men to protect their best interests through estate planning in New York.

A will is a staple document to include as part of any estate plan. This legal document provides direction regarding how physical and financial assets ought to be distributed when the creator of the will dies. Another important document is a living will, which is also called an advance directive. This document outlines a person's wishes regarding receiving care at the end of his or her life.

What should you disclose when selling your house?

When involved in any type of residential real estate transaction, it is critical to know how to protect your rights and interests from start to finish. As the seller, there are ways that you can shield yourself from problems and avoid issues that could delay closing or cause a buyer to walk away from the deal.

By law, sellers must disclose certain information about the property to the potential buyer. Failure to do this could lead to problems, and you would be wise to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that you avoid unnecessary legal and financial risks throughout the real estate transaction process.

Big commercial real estate projects coming to New York City

Several real estate projects were recently proposed in New York, ranging from residential buildings to commercial retail spaces. One of the commercial real estate projects is a new Essex Crossing building to be built in Manhattan. Another planned project is an apartment building that will be erected in Coney Island.

The Essex Crossing building will include more than 80 residential units that will span more than 104,000 square feet. The project should also include commercial space spanning more than 153,000 square feet. Most of this commercial space will be used for a public market, which will open on the building's lower floors. Meanwhile, the second through the fifth floors of the building will include office space.