There are so many mistakes involved in estate planning. In our years of serving New York, we have noticed a trend of mistakes common among New Yorkers, and wish to throw light on these things. It’s good you know about these common estate planning mistakes so you can avoid them.
However, to be on the safe side, it’s better to work with an estate planning lawyer near you who knows the local laws and tactics. An experienced estate planning lawyer will help you create a plan than offers you the best benefits, using certain legal instruments and strategies.
If you’re looking to contact an estate planning lawyer near you in New York 14210, kindly call our law office today to speak with one of our highly-skilled estate planning lawyers.
Top 7 Estate Planning Mistakes
1. Not making a plan because you have very few assets
Some people feel estate planning is for the wealthy ones only, and so fail to create an estate plan when all they have is a car, house, and money in the bank. But if you do not lay down your wishes on who should receive what, how are you certain there will not be squabbles when you pass away?
Squabbles are more likely when your family members are estranged or often at each other’s throats. You could prevent such risks simply by writing a will, and your instructions will be followed.
Furthermore, estate planning goes beyond planning for asset distribution. You may have to plan towards incapacity, long-term care, Medicaid, probate and estate tax avoidance, complexly owned assets, etc. If you do not plan for these, then there will be huge costs, confusion, and headache when the time comes.
2. Failure to name guardians for your minors
By New York law, any child below 18 is not eligible to inherit. So if you have minors at the time of your death, they would not be able to inherit what you leave for them. However, you can name a guardian in your will, or a trustee in your child trust, and this person will be charged with managing the assets for the minors’ benefit until they come of age.
3. Failing to plan against estate tax
Another important aspect of estate planning is tax planning. In New York, the estate tax threshold is $5.85 million. If your estate worths above this value at your death, your family would have to pay estate tax before they inherit, and this ranges from 5-16% of your estate — quite a significant amount. To ensure your loved ones get all that they should receive, you need to plan towards tax avoidance or minimization.
4. Not considering probate
New York probate is often complex, expensive, and extensive, something you shouldn’t desire your family to go through while dealing with your loss. There would be court hearings, several documents and court formalities, expenses, debts and tax return forms to file and pay, and your beneficiaries cannot even get their share until this process is done.
But you could prevent them from going through all that hassle by creating trusts for them. Assets held in a trust will pass to the beneficiary immediately you pass away, and outside probate. No hassle. It is only more expensive and complex to execute than a will, but in the long run, it is so worth it. It’s advisable to hire an estate planning lawyer to help with the trust execution.
5. Failure to update your documents when necessary
Estate planning documents are not a once-and-for-all matter. After creating them, life goes on and situations may change in a year or two. You may have a new born child, acquire new properties, or lose some. You also may get divorced, lose a beneficiary or executor. In all of these cases, you would have to go back and review your estate plan to ensure it meets with your current situation and goals. If your estate plan contains the name of a deceased person, who then will receive what you allocated to them?
6. Failure to plan for incapacity
Although sad to think about, incapacity may come at any time, and it is only good you plan towards it. Most people fail to do so, and when incapacity strikes, their family falls into confusion, at a loss what decisions they should make concerning your business or healthcare. But you could appoint someone now to make decisions for you so that when the time comes, they will be in charge of managing your estate or making healthcare decisions for you, eliminating conflicting decisions among your family members.
7. Not consulting an estate planning lawyer
This is in fact the greatest mistake people make because it gives rise to all other mistakes. Having an experienced estate planning attorney on your side will prevent you from making the above mistakes. They have the professional know-how to execute all estate planning documents and plan for all that concerns your financial future.
Estate planning lawyers near me 14210
If you live around Buffalo, NY, simply call our office today to speak with one of our estate planning lawyers 14210, Buffalo.