Proper estate planning can save you and your family a lot of unnecessary stress when unwanted events happen. This is because estate planning in a sense is planning for the future of your estate and all expected events that may affect it — for example; death. Through estate planning, you can ensure that your wishes would be carried out even after you die, in that your wealth would be passed down to those who you wish it for. This is simply made possible by writing a will. But estate planning goes way farther than writing a will and apportioning assets to beneficiaries. A proper estate plan should cover both life and death eventualities. So what then is estate planning?
Estate Planning Defined
In a concise definition, estate planning is the process of putting legal plans in place during a person’s lifetime to care for the management of their assets during life and their disposal after death, while minimizing estate, inheritance, income and gift taxes, etc.
Just as much as you are concerned about how you prefer your estate distributed when you finally pass away, there is also a great need to consider how it should be managed should you fall into incapacity. Considerations must also be given to how best to transfer those assets to your loved ones without putting them through delays and court stress as well as huge estate taxes. To this end, it is beneficial to hire an estate planning attorney in New York.
Estate Planning Attorney 11040
Given your situation and estate goals, an estate planning attorney can offer professional advice and help you create an estate plan that actualizes your best wishes. If you need a competent estate planning attorney near you 11040 GARDEN CITY P, NY, simply contact us to speak with one.
Important Documents to Include in Your Estate Plan
There are documents which are regarded as vital to estate planning in New York. They are discussed below:
A will is familiar to almost everyone as a document by which you can bequeath assets to your loved ones. As simple as it is, a will is very powerful. With it, you can decide just who you want your life’s work to go to and prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. This is because without a will or estate plan, the state of New York decides for you by its statutes. In addition, you can appoint a guardian for your minors by naming them in your will.
However, there are legal requirements for writing a will in New York (such as being a legal adult and of testamentary capacity); and if you do not follow them accordingly, the document would be declared invalid in court. You can purchase a New York will draft online but trying to alter an already made draft to fit your personal situation may do more harm than good. It is advised you have an estate planning attorney assist you in drafting your will.
The downside to a will is that your beneficiaries have to go through a long court process known as probate before they can inherit your property, and that is after a considerable part of it has been spent paying estate taxes, probate fees and other financial obligations. A trust avoids all of that. By creating a living trust, probate is avoided. Assets held in your living trust will go to the beneficiaries without any form of involvement of the court. However, depending on your estate, your attorney may advise to have a living trust alongside a will.
Another benefit of a trust is that when you become incapacitated, your trustee will become immediately responsible for handling your affairs. This avoids the need for guardianship. You can as well hold funds in trust for your minors, where the trustee is bound by their fiduciary obligation to manage the funds for their benefit until they come of age.
Financial & Medical Powers of Attorney
By creating a financial power of attorney, you thereby appoint a trusted agent who would handle your finances in the event you are unable to do so yourself, probably due to incapacitation. A medical power of attorney on the other hand gives an agent authority to make medical decisions on your behalf.
An Estate Planning Attorney Can Help You Minimize or Avoid Estate Taxes
Currently, if you die leaving an estate valuing over $5,850,000 in New York, an amount known as estate tax must be paid out of it to the state. The rate is between 5 to 16% and this obviously is a huge amount which you would rather give to a loved one. If you feel your estate would be subject to the estate tax, kindly talk to one of our experienced estate planning attorneys to find the best way to avoid or minimize your estate tax value.