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Important things to know about estate planning in New York
What is estate planning?
Estate planning has to do with making plans and decisions concerning the transfer of assets as well as their management while minimizing costs and complications. Estate planning varies from state to state, which is why you need legal guidance from a New York estate lawyer to ensure your plan complies with state laws.
Do I always need to hire an estate planning lawyer?
If you have a very simple estate, probably comprising a house, a bank account, and a car, then you may easily draft your will without assistance. But you also need to know that estate planning goes beyond creating a will. If you wish to plan for eventual incapacity, it’s better to hire experienced hands. Other documents like powers of attorney, trusts and living wills are more complex than wills, and require legal knowledge in their execution. If you also have property outside New York, then you definitely need careful and intensive planning to avoid giving so much headache to your family when you pass away.
What happens if I don’t create an estate plan in New York?
If you don’t have an estate plan, then you would be said to have died intestate. In intestacy, your estate will be disbursed according to the intestate laws of New York, wherein only your spouse and children can inherit your property. There is a predetermined share for the parties. Your spouse inherits the first $50,000 and half of the remainder, while your child(ren) inherit(s) the rest. Chances are that this is not your wish. To ensure your wishes are honored, it is best to create an estate plan now.
Furthermore, without estate planning, you would not be able to minimize probate and estate tax for your family. They might have to go through a lot of stress to inherit your property. Through proper estate planning, you can ease things up for them.
What is probate?
Probate is a legal process by which your will is validated and your estate disbursed. NY probate is complex and lengthy most times, and riddled with challenges especially for complex and high net worth estates. And your beneficiaries cannot inherit until probate concludes, which often takes up to a year or longer.
But the good thing is that only those assets that are in your name only will have to go through probate. Jointly owned property, life insurance proceeds, retirement accounts, and assets held in a trust will not go through probate.
Through estate planning, you can fund the most of your estate into a living trust, thereby minimizing the value of assets passing through probate. It makes the whole process simpler, and your loved ones can inherit their share quickly.
Note that only estates exceeding $30,000 in New York will be probated. And whether or not there is a will, so long the estate is in your name and exceeds $30,000, there will be probate.
Can I leave assets for my children below 18 years of age?
Children below 18 (minors) are not legally competent, and so are not allowed by law to inherit assets. To ensure they will still get the kind of life you wish for them, you should name a guardian in your will or appoint a trustee in your living trust. This person will be responsible for managing the assets you leave for your minors. The individual is bound by law to act in the best interest of your beneficiaries (the minors). When they attain 18, your children can then take over the property from the individual.
How can I find an estate planning lawyer near me in NY 14202?
We have estate planning lawyers serving Buffalo, NY 14202. To get in touch, simply put a call through to our law office today.