Serving throughout New York, our estate planning attorneys offer estate planning services personalized for each client. We seek to give you a comprehensive and strategic plan that works best for your estate situation and financial goals, while minimizing complications. We can help you plan for the distribution of your assets when you pass away, the management of your estate during eventual incapacity, asset protection, tax planning and probate minimization.
For all your estate planning needs in Buffalo, NY 14208, kindly call our office today.
What does Estate planning entail?
Estate planning is a legal process in which you plan for the management of your estate (the entirety of your possessions) during your life and its disbursement when you pass away. The process involves making plans to ease the asset transfer process, ensure your wishes are honored exactly as you want, and that complications and avoidable costs are avoided. Through estate planning, you can appoint someone to manage your financial affairs and healthcare in the event you become incapacitated. You can also name a guardian to manage assets for your minors until they come of age to inherit what you left for them.
What if I don’t do estate planning?
If you don’t carry out estate planning, then your last wishes will not be known, and you would be said to have died intestate.
New York intestate succession
If you die without a will in New York, the probate court will decide who receives it as enshrined in the New York Law of Intestate Succession. Your spouse will receive the first $50,000 and half of the estate, while the other half goes to your children. As is obvious, this may not be your wish.
What if one child deserves more than the others? What about your niece who depends on you? Through estate planning, you can decide who gets a part of your hard-earned wealth, and how it is shared.
Estate planning also allows you plan for your end-of-life situation. You can lay down instructions to not be kept on life support for too long when chances for survival are infinitesimal, in an attempt to save cost for your family.
New York estate tax
As at January 1, 2020, the New York estate tax exemption amount was changed to $5,850,000. What this means is that if you die leaving an estate worth over this sum, an amount known as estate tax will be imposed on your estate. New York estate tax ranges between 5-16% of your estate, and must be paid from your estate before your inheritors can get their share.
The good news is that our estate planning attorneys 14208 can help you avoid estate tax by employing certain estate planning strategies.
Probate is a legal court procedure for checking the validity of your will when you pass away. Your executor will take the will to the New York probate court, i.e. the Surrogate’s Court, and then probate will commence. New York probate takes a lot of money and time, often taking up to 8 months or even over a year depending on the complexity of the estate. But the good news is estate planning offers you several ways to simplify probate. Our attorneys can help you achieve that.
Notably, all New York wills must pass through probate whereas trusts do not. By using trusts for asset transfer, you would enable your loved ones inherit quickly and without publicity.
Note that probate will only be done in New York if the estate values above $30,000.
Essential documents that make up a basic New York Estate plan
Will: For distribution of assets. Your Life insurance, retirement account, bank account with transferable-on-death clause should not be addressed in the will.
Living Trust: To transfer assets during life or after death while avoiding probate
Living Will: on which you document your wishes concerning end-of-life situations.
Power of Attorney: for appointing an agent to make financial decisions on your behalf in you eventually become incapacitated.
Medical Power of Attorney (Healthcare Proxy): A document on which you appoint an agent to make healthcare decisions for you during incapacity.
Must I hire an estate planning attorney?
To create a basic will for a simple estate, you don’t necessarily need professional assistance. If you have a complex family and/or assets on the other hand, your will needs to be customized, and this may require experienced hands. Furthermore, other estate planning documents like trusts and POA are more complicated and typically needs legal handling. To ensure you don’t make mistakes that will end up destabilizing your surviving family, get help from an estate planning attorney near you.
Estate Planning Attorneys near me 14208
Call us to speak with an estate planning attorney near you in Buffalo NY 14208.