As you live on, you tend to accumulate assets (possibly a business, money in an account, insurance, a home, intellectual property, income, etc.). A day will come when, unfortunately, you would have to leave those assets behind. Now, you can decide to leave specific properties to particular loved ones.
Even before death comes, you may become incapacitated such that you become unable to manage your own affairs and finances. You can make plans now on how your affairs will be managed, and who will be responsible for that.
All of the above is estate planning.
What is estate planning?
In concise terms, estate planning has to do with making decisions and laying instructions for the management and distribution of your assets when something happens to you, while minimizing the cost and tax imposition on asset transfer.
Estate planning is a legal provision and as such, is bound by many laws. Each state has its own estate planning laws; hence, you should be familiar with your state laws to carry out estate planning. Estate planning in Long Island is correlates with New York laws.
Since there are many documents involved in estate planning, it’s best to consult an experienced estate planning attorney Long Island to ensure you get everything right.
Important things to know about estate planning Long Island
One aspect about estate planning is the transfer of your possessions when you pass away. You can write a Last Will in that regard. Your will should contain the names of your beneficiaries and specific amounts or properties you want bequeathed to them when you’re gone.
Wills are not only for high-net worth individuals. Even though you don’t have so much, that house, bank account, life insurance proceeds, retirement account or car you have can go a long way to help your dear loved one. But without a will, those assets may go to another person entirely. So you have to address the transfer of your assets to ensure your wishes are honored when you die.
If you have a complex assets and are not too sure how to address them in your will, contact an estate planning lawyer Long Island now.
Your will does not become active until death, which is why you can alter your will at any time. At death, it becomes active and must be taken to your county probate court by your executor, someone who you should name in your will.
During probate, the court checks your will for validity, your debts and estate taxes will be paid, and your estate disbursed according to your will. This process can take anything between 3 months to years, and not until it concludes can your loved ones inherit.
That is why we often advise executing a living trust instead of a will. Trusts avoid probate and enable your loved ones inherit immediately you pass away. This document is more complex than a will, so it’s crucial you get help from an estate planning attorney Long Island.
If you have minors (children below 18), they cannot inherit whatever you leave for them until they reach 18 years of age. No one knows when the inevitable will come, so it’s great to have plans in place to avoid problems later. So if you have minors, you should appoint a guardian for them in your will. When you pass way, this individual will manage whatever property you leave for your kids for their benefit until they come of age to inherit them.
If you have an elderly loved one who’s developing Alzheimer’s or who can no longer care for themselves (incapacitated), you should get help from an estate planning or guardianship attorney to apply for guardianship over your elderly loved one.
Guardianship in Long Island can be complicated but can be prevented if you have a living trust or power of attorney.
In a trust, your named successor trustee will become your automatic guardian during incapacity. If you do not have a trust, you can also create a power of attorney. In this document, you name an agent who will make financial and/or healthcare decisions – as the case may be – on your behalf when you become unable to make them yourself.
Financial planning is also an important aspect of estate planning. Your estate may be subject to estate taxes in Long Island. These taxes can eat up a considerable part of your estate, a part better left for a loved one. By carrying out tax planning, you can greatly minimize these taxes or entirely avoid them as the case may be.
Get help from a Long Island Estate Planning Attorney
An experienced estate planning attorney Long Island will listen to your needs and advise you on what’s best for you and your estate. Your attorney also helps prepare the necessary documents to avoid making costly mistakes.
Get help from an estate planning lawyer near you by calling us today.