What is Estate Planning?
Everyone has an Estate. If you own anything, you have an estate that will require legal steps after your passing.
Estate Planning is making a plan in advance, naming exactly to whom you want your possessions to go and naming who will be in charge of carrying out your plans after you pass away.
5 Reasons To Do Estate Planning
Losing someone will be difficult for any of your beneficiaries, however, having to worry about the financial security of their inheritance doesn’t need to be. With the proper estate planning completed in advance, that may include your last will and testament, revocable trusts, irrevocable trusts or any Medicaid Trusts, your financial assets will remain secure up until the time when they are distributed to your loved ones.
For beneficiaries who are minors, plans and trusts can be put into place to protect their inheritance until they reach New York state’s legal age of 18 years old, or any age you choose. Living trusts are also available if you wish to decide ahead of time how often and how much of the funds are distributed to your child as they grow.
We will work out the best tailored Estate Plan possible to fully protect and share your assets with those who may be underage when you pass away.
Selecting beneficiaries for your Estate is not always easy, but naming a guardian for your child is perhaps one of the most important. By choosing someone you trust, you can rest knowing your child has the best possible chance for a great life after you are gone.
Your Estate may be subject to federal and state taxes, for both you and to whom your assets are bequeathed. We will help determine the value of your assets and guide you through the process to reduce or eliminate as much estate tax as possible.
Even though valuable possessions often go through probate, it may be possible to avoid the process when leaving real estate to a loved one. From naming a second owner of the property now to placing the property into a trust, there are multiple options available to you and your beneficiaries in avoiding probate and federal estate taxes.
Though it will be a difficult time for your loved ones, Estate Planning will ease some of their burdens and allow them to remain protected after you are gone, and in the way you wanted.
What Makes Up An Estate Plan?
Last will and testaments are documents that provide the power to keep your wishes bound by law. They assure your assets are distributed to your beneficiaries just as you have stated.
Trusts give another party, which you have designated, the right to handle your Estate for the ease of transition to your beneficiaries. Certain trusts also provide tax exempt clauses. There are many kinds of trusts that may help prevent going through probate court, and we are happy to explain all of your options.
Power of Attorney
Power of Attorney gives a designated person you choose the legal right to act on your behalf. The power is null and void once you pass away. There is also Durable Power of Attorney which allows your attorney to continue acting on your behalf should you become incapacitated.
Health Care Proxy
A Health Care Proxy is a document that names someone you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf when you are unable to communicate those decisions yourself. Choosing someone who will honor your treatments the way you want will prevent the state from deciding for you.
The Steps of Estate Planning
1. Options Meetings
In our first hour together, we will address goals, intentions and any major concerns you have about how your affairs are to be handled. Together, we will determine what type of options/Estate Plan is the best fit for you and your family.
2. Design Meeting
Once you have decided on the estate planning option that best suits your wishes, our second meeting will provide the opportunity to review specific details, especially the roles your loved ones will play in the Estate Plan.
3. Signing Meeting
Our third meeting allows us to review your drafted Estate Plan page by page with you. It is of the utmost importance to us that you fully comprehend and are comfortable with the purpose and structure of your plan. Once this review is complete, you will be able to sign your documents and begin putting your assets into legal protection, if needed.
4. Funding Meeting
If you decide to have us prepare a Trust, the funding of your assets into the Trust is an important step. We will outline how to move your assets into your Trust to ensure your plan is effective and complete.
We know Estate Planning is a sensitive matter. We will provide the personal and attentive service that will make the whole process simple and smooth, and tailored to fit your needs. With our firm, you will be in good hands.
If you would like to begin planning your Estate and are interested in a free initial consultation, contact our office today.