Blended families – where two people who already have children from a previous relationship marry – face a potentially disastrous property distribution if both spouses die without a will: Assume the husband dies first, without a will. Under EPTL Article 4, the wife will inherit a very large portion of his property. Most people probably do not find this objectionable. The problem comes when the wife subsequently dies, also without a will. Under EPTL Article 4, her children inherit everything, including what she inherited from her husband, and his children get nothing! Muennich & Bussard, LLP can help blended families prevent this situation with proper estate planning.
As of July 25, 2011 New York allows same-sex marriages, and bestows upon married homosexual couples all the customary rights and duties of marriage in New York. However, many other states, as well as the federal government, do not recognize these marriages. Same-sex couples subject to the federal estate tax still need a significant amount of extra estate planning in order to cope with the lack of the marital deduction to the federal estate tax. All same-sex couples may wish to create an advance medical directive just in case a medical emergency occurs in another state that does not recognize their marriage. Through careful and thorough estate planning, Muennich & Bussard, LLP can help same-sex couples replicate end-of-life rights that are denied by non-New-York jurisdictions.