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What Is Estate Planning?

In basic terms, estate planning involves making a plan on how you want your assets distributed after you die. In addition to naming whom you want to receive your property upon your passing, an estate plan can:

  • Name a guardian for your minor children
  • Include instructions for your care if you become incapacitated
  • Provide for loved ones with special needs without disqualifying them from government benefits
  • Provide for financially irresponsible beneficiaries
  • Provide protection from creditors or lawsuits
  • Reduce or eliminate taxes, court costs, and legal fees

Are People Surprised When They Discover How Many Assets They Have?

Most definitely! Even a high school kid or any individual without any real property would be surprised at how much they own.  If they were to create a list of all the assets they own, they would quickly realize that although these items may not be worth thousands of dollars, there are still certain people in their life they’d want to leave these items to.

What Are Some Things That People Are Surprised To Discover As Assets?

It’s pretty much common sense that a house is an asset. Basics such as a laptop or a wine collection, a CD collection or even furniture! These are all assets. Even a photo album or a bank account!

What Are The Top Misconceptions People Have About Estate Planning?

That they don’t own an estate! Believe it or not, nearly everyone has an estate. Your estate is comprised of everything you own; your home, your vehicle, your bank accounts, life insurance, household goods, even your pet. Most importantly, you can’t take it with you when you die. Who gets to inherit it is entirely up to you; if you devise an estate plan that is.

If A Person Dies Without An Estate Plan or a Will, What Will Happen?

If a person dies without a will or a trust, then that person is considered to have died “intestate.” New York’s intestacy statute provides for the distribution of a deceased person’s property in the following order:

  • The surviving spouse inherits the entire estate, if the decedent had no children;
  • If the decedent did have children, then the surviving spouse inherits $50,000, plus one-half of the remainder of the Net estate, with the remaining one-half equally distributed among the children;
  • If there is no surviving spouse, then the children inherit the entire estate;
  • If the decedent had no children and no spouse, the estate is distributed to the decedent’s parents, if deceased, then to their issues (decedent’s siblings);
  • If none of the above, then one-half to the maternal grandparents and their issue and one-half to the paternal grandparents and their issue;
  • If none of the above, then one-half to the great grandchildren of the maternal grandparents and one-half to the great grandchildren of the paternal grandparents;
  • If none of the above, the property escheats to New York State.

For more information on What Is Estate Planning, 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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