Estate Planning

Why You Need an Estate Plan

Your Estate can consist of some or all of the following: real estate, bank and investment accounts, life insurance policies, and personal property such as automobiles, jewelry, and artwork. It’s important to have a basic estate plan in place, regardless of your age or net worth, and the plan can be very simple, but without one, you or your family are subject to the laws of New York. A basic estate plan includes a Will, Power of Attorney documents both for financial decisions and for medical decisions (sometimes referred to as Health Care Proxy), and a Living Will or Advanced Directive. In some cases, it might make sense for additional planning to create a Revocable Living Trust now, or creation of a Trust at your death.

The purpose of estate planning is to prepare to transfer your assets to others upon your death. Estate planning allows you to specify where each of your assets goes upon your death. This involves deciding who the beneficiaries will be, what each will get, and how to perform those transfers with the minimum tax consequences, while making sure that the estate has enough liquidity to meet its obligations.Anyone who owns assets has an estate. With increased life insurance, increased home values, the effects of inflation, and larger retirement accounts, many have larger estates than they realize. Furthermore, Congress continues to target estates as a source of revenue.

Depending on the size of your estate, you may need trusts or a sophisticated gifting program, but in any event you should develop an estate plan to ensure that your current and future assets will be distributed to your beneficiaries with maximum ease and minimum cost. Remember, if you haven’t prepared your own estate plan, then the laws of intestacy will determine who will receive your assets when you die, at a time when you may not want those persons to receive them. Finally, the tax cost to both New York and Washington may be larger than necessary.

For more information about how how estate plan can benefit you, peruse library, or call us at (516) 466-5900.