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I have a elderly woman who has become a mother figure in my life, who wants to leave her estate to me, she has no children or

Cape May, NJ |

siblings. What is the best estate plan for her to leave me her estate with the least state and federal tax implications?

Attorney Answers 4

  1. There are real issues of financial elder abuse that could be alleged. The advice is for you to encourage the woman to seek out and hire her own estate planning attorney to help her. The less involved you are the better.

    The woman can also write out her own will in her own handwriting. THat is not advisable in this case as you would want an experienced attorney to be able to testify that you were not involved.

    If there is money here, believe me, distant relatives will smell it and come out of the wood work and come after you.

    The general advice above does not constitute an attorney-client relationship: you haven't hired me or my firm or given me confidential information by posting on this public forum, and my answer on this public forum does not constitute attorney-client advice. IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: In order to comply with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. While I am licensed to practice in New York and California, I do not actively practice in New York. Regardless, nothing said should be deemed an opinion of law of any state. All readers need to do their own research or pay an attorney for a legal opinion if one is necessary or desired.

  2. Attorney Shultz is correct. You will want your friend to hire her own estate planning attorney to prepare a new will and (perhaps) other estate planning documents for her. Specifically, you should not:

    a) make an appointment for your friend with the attorney;
    b) drive your friend to the attorney's office;
    c) provide any advice to your friend about what she should be doing.

    In short, you need to stay out of this so that you avoid any appearance of undue influence on your friend. Such a claim could very well occur after her death when her relatives come out of the wood-work. Good luck to you.

    This information is presented as a public service. It should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor considered to be the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. I am licensed in Connecticut and New York and my answers are based upon the law in those jurisdictions. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if I were to review a client's file and have the opportunity to interview the client. Accordingly, I strongly urge you to retain an attorney in your jurisdiction with respect to any legal matter.

  3. I agree with the answer that the farther you are away from any decision that she makes the better. I will defer to the experts like the answer above, but this issue is a ripe one for potential abuse so best to be very hands off and let her make her own decisions including what attorney she uses to draft the will. Her mental statre can be questioned by anyone looking at this decision so a physicians involvement may be needed by her attorney.

  4. I agree with the other attorneys, I would let this woman pursue her own answer to this question. If you are even asking a question regarding state and federal tax implications, then the estate may be potentially sizable enough to draw scrutiny. Be careful.

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