Many people think that only older people need an estate plan, but do young New Yorkers need an estate plan too? The answer is yes.
Not just about death
An estate plan is not just about what happens to your assets after you die. It is also about what happens to you and your loved ones if you become incapacitated or unable to make decisions for yourself.
Without an estate plan, you may lose control over your health care, finances and personal affairs. A court may appoint a guardian or conservator for you, who may not be someone you would choose or trust. This can be costly, time-consuming and stressful for you and your family.
An estate plan can help you avoid this scenario by allowing you to name the people you want to make decisions for you, if you are unable to do so. You can also express your wishes regarding your medical treatment, organ donation and end-of-life care. You can designate beneficiaries for your assets and avoid the probate process, which can be lengthy and expensive in New York.
An estate plan can also help you protect your assets from creditors, lawsuits and taxes. New York has a state estate tax that applies to estates over $6.11 million in 2022. If your estate exceeds this amount, it may be subject to a tax rate of up to 16%.
However, there are strategies that can help you reduce or eliminate this tax burden, such as trusts, gifts and charitable donations.
An estate plan can also help you plan for the future of your children, spouse or partner. You can name a guardian for your minor children, provide for their education and support and ensure that they inherit your assets according to your wishes.
You can also protect your spouse or partner from being disinherited by other relatives or creditors, and provide for their financial security and well-being.
An estate plan is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It should be tailored to your specific needs, goals and circumstances. Estate planning is not something that you should put off until later. It is something that you should do now, while you are young and healthy.
By doing so, you can ensure that your wishes are respected, your rights are protected and your loved ones are taken care of.