Essential estate planning tools for households in New York
Estate planning is often a daunting task, but it is crucial to have a plan in place in case something happens to you or your loved ones in New York. There are so many ways you can leave something for your loved ones and ensure you or your financial affairs are also protected when incapacitated; however, there are some tools that are essential.
A will is an estate planning document that outlines how you want your assets distributed after you die and names the person you want to be in charge of that process. In New York, your assets will be distributed according to the state’s intestacy laws if you die without a will, which may not be what you would’ve preferred.
A living will, also called an advance directive, is a document that outlines your medical wishes if you cannot communicate them yourself. This can be due to a coma, being on life support, or suffering from dementia. In your living will, you can specify what types of medical treatments you do or do not want to receive.
A trust is a legal arrangement where someone holds property or assets on behalf of another person. The property is held in the trust until the beneficiary meets certain conditions, such as reaching a certain age. Trusts can have some tax benefits to your beneficiaries and might even help a disabled heir get government benefits like SSDI.
Durable power of attorney
A durable power of attorney (POA) is a document that gives someone else in New York the legal authority to make financial decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated. For example, if you get involved in a car accident and are unable to work, your bills will still need to be paid. If you have a POA in place, your designated agent can take care of those things for you.
Many people put off an estate plan until it’s too late. In fact, statistics show that only 32% of American adults have an estate plan. This means that if anything were to happen to the other 68%, their families would have difficulty dealing with their debts, taxes, expenses, and inheritance.