Planning For Your Future 
Littman Krooks LLP
April 2012
What Should I Know about Autism Awareness Month?


April is Autism Awareness Month, a time to raise public consciousness about autism spectrum disorders. You should be aware of what is happening this month to raise awareness, and new facts that have just been reported about autism diagnoses.

One of the most prominent signs you may see -or wear yourself-indicating the significance of this month is the Puzzle Ribbon, produced by the nonprofit Autism Society. This ribbon featuring multicolored puzzle pieces is an internationally-recognized symbol of autism awareness. Wear it with pride and thank others when you see them wearing it.

If you noticed an iconic building in your city illuminated in blue on April 2nd and wondered why, it was in honor of World Autism Awareness Day, sanctioned by the United Nations and initiated by the nonprofit organization Autism Speaks. From the Empire State Building to Brazil's Christ the Redeemer Statue, from Tokyo Tower to Graceland in Memphis, a blue light of awareness was shown on close to 3,000 structures in more than 600 cities throughout the world. 
It's Time to Protect Your Family and Your Future

Estate planning is a financial process that can protect you and your family and is a very important component of your overall financial planning. April is National Financial Literacy Month to put your estate planning house in order. If you don't have an up-to-date estate plan and you happen to get hurt or sick and cannot manage your financial affairs, the courts will have to appoint someone to manage them for you. The person they appoint might not be the one you would want to perform those tasks.

Without an estate plan, when you pass away, your affairs will be settled by default through a complex legal system called "probate." The handling of your financial affairs can turn into a costly and frustrating ordeal for your family and heirs. The crafting of a good estate plan starts with planning, followed by the proper drafting and signing of appropriate legal documents such as wills, trusts, buy-sell agreements, durable powers of attorney for asset management, and an advanced health-care directive or health-care power of attorney. Having these documents in place saves you and your family a lot of money and time at a very difficult and emotional time. Your estate planning should also address the coordination of the way you hold title to your various assets, your beneficiary selections and the possible transfer of certain assets while you are alive.

Regardless of the extent of your net worth, estate planning is important for everyone. Complex strategies may be used by wealthy people to reduce death taxes and costs. Others may only require a simple will and/or trust to pass on property to their heirs and provide for minor children. 


Professional Events

Ellyn S. Kravitz, Esq., to speak on "Planning for the Future of a Child with a Disability: Utilizing Special Needs Trusts" at the Aaron School on April 19th in New York City.

Adrienne J. Arkontaky, Esq., to present on "Supplemental Needs Trusts & Funding Them With Qualified Accounts" at the 24th Annual PLI Elder Law Institute on April 27 at PLI in New York City and via webinar.

Bernard A. Krooks, Esq., will be speaking on May 10th at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Boston, MA to the Boston Estate Planning Council on "The Use of Irrevocable Income-Only Trusts in Elder Law Planning."


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