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What Are the Important Factors In Making An Estate Plan?

What Are The Benefits of Formulating a Trust or a Will?

Some of the common advantages associated with formulating an estate plan include probate avoidance, easy transfer of ownership, and asset protection from creditors and lawsuits. Other benefits include providing for a loved one who is disabled without disqualifying them from Medicaid or other government assistance, protecting your home from an unsuccessful business venture or disgruntled creditors, or simply reducing estate and gift taxes. Depending on your goals and needs, the benefits can be endless.

Do People Generally Include the Family in The Formulation of an Estate Plan or Do they Keep it Secret?

It is best practice to inform your loved ones of the formulation of an estate plan. It is usually the case that potential heirs are kept in the dark and turn bitter upon discovering that they have been disinherited. Unhappy heirs lead to will and trust contests. Will contest lead to legal fees that thereby diminish the net estate. Moral of the story; be open, it can save you money. Let people in your life know that you made a will or a trust, where you plan to keep it, and who is the named trustee or executor of the document.

How Do You Set Up An Estate Plan That Will Be Followed And Won’t Be Disputed?

Nothing in this life is guaranteed. However, there are some measures you can take to safeguard your assets from disinherited heirs. I always suggest including the disinherited heir in a will or trust. A simple clause such as “I disinherit John Smith” can place the tribunal on notice that you fully intended to disinherit John, not just forgot to. This is especially important when it comes to disinheriting children as New York law provides certain protections for omitted children. Another measure is to include a letter in your estate plan outlining the reasons for the disinheritance, or video tape yourself showing that you are of sound mind when signing the will or trust. Most importantly, be sure that the will or trust d conforms with New York State formalities and requirements. A small technical error can render the entire will or trust invalid, leaving your assets exposed to estranged heirs.

Is There Such a Thing As An Iron Clad Will?

Possibly. If you can account for every imaginable situation, and cast a doubtful eye on all of the people in your life, then you can better plan against potential will contests. The key is to be realistic, and not dance around any issues. If you have any suspicion that someone may contest your will, question your mental capacity, not follow your wishes, then address it in your estate plan and discuss your concerns with your family members.

What are Some Reasons That People Neglect Making An Estate Plan?

Lack of urgency and ignorance! Many people don’t understand the importance of estate planning until someone they love dies or a significant life event occurs, such as illness, purchase of real property, retirement, or a pending lawsuit. Most people don’t see estate planning as a service they need this present moment, and continue to put it off until incapacitation or death. Then it’s too late. They are deemed to have died intestate under New York law (without a will), and the cost of winding down their estate ends up costing quadruple the amount, if not more, then they would have paid had they just drafted a solid estate plan.

What Kind of Life Events Trigger People to Start Thinking About An Estate Plan?

Failing health, marriage, divorce, adoption, birth, bankruptcy, lawsuits, failing business ventures, applying for government assistance such as Medicaid, Social Security Income.

What Elements Constitute a Complex Estate Plan?

Individuals with significant assets, such as retirement accounts, real estate or business assets may need more than a basic will and trust in their estate plan. The laws relating to the transfer of wealth before and upon death are complex and ever evolving. Such plans involve an in depth understanding of significant assets and liabilities, as well as any specific estate planning concerns and objectives. A properly drafted estate plan can preserve an estate, minimize tax burdens, and protect the inheritances of the beneficiaries.

For more information on Factors Involved in Creating an Estate Plan, a free initial consultation is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (646) 233-0826 today.

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