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There are fundamental points to remember with estate planning

On Behalf of | Mar 22, 2023 | Estate Planning

New Yorkers who are thinking about the future and have concerns as to what will happen to their loved ones inevitably focus on estate planning. Many will have a vague notion as to what that entails. There is no doubt it can be confusing to decide how best to address individual needs.

To ease the process, the fundamentals are a good place to start. Whether it is a person who has a business, is a high-earner and has significant assets or someone who is of lesser means but still has property they want to leave to loved ones, thinking about the basics can serve as a guideline to achieve a positive result. As with any legal document, it is wise to have professional assistance.

What should I know when I start crafting an estate plan?

Most people will settle on a will. While it is fine for most people, it might not handle everything. For example, a retirement account or life insurance policy will have the beneficiary listed and that might not be the person the testator wanted to receive the proceeds. If there is a difference between the will and these policies, the policy holds sway.

An executor has vast responsibilities and picking a trustworthy person is key. They will pay debts, sell property and distribute assets. Some people do not want the responsibility. Others are not up to the challenge. Having more than one person in mind and checking with them is a useful step.

Those who own real estate, stocks and have money tied up in various investments often think about giving these holdings as gifts to loved ones. That could be a mistake as it potentially leaves people vulnerable to higher taxes. Some are better off just giving cash as gifts. When there are young people who are not deemed mature enough to handle a sudden windfall, a trust could be in order. It is also essential to periodically update the estate plan as life changes occur.

Help may be needed to create an effective estate plan

In addition to the above factors to consider when estate planning, it is imperative to have the right help. Consulting with professionals who have more than four decades of experience in New York estate planning can help a person meet their needs in an efficient and effective way.

New York is a diverse city and there are frequently disagreements among family members after a person has died. A well-crafted estate plan can address all issues, ensure a will is valid, select a person best suited to be the executor and make sure the estate is handled properly. A consultation can give guidance with how to proceed.