Estate Planning Attorney
For many of us, death is unpredictable and surprising. Your shocking death can put your loved ones in a compromised position, but you can prevent that by working with an estate planning attorney.
In your mind, you may already have an idea of what estate planning involves. You figure that you can handle that easily, so there is no need to rush.
You do not need to rush but getting your affairs in order can still take some time. In this article, we will detail the different aspects of estate planning, so you have a more accurate idea of everything it entails. You will also see why you should start estate planning sooner rather than later.
What Are the Elements of Estate Planning?
If you had to guess right now, what would you say is the focus of estate planning?
Did you mention writing a last will and testament? Well, yes, that is a part of it.
What about dividing your assets? That is part of it too, but estate planning goes beyond that.
Estate planning could also involve creating a trust. However, that is still only a single part of the process.
You see, estate planning involves all those things mentioned above. It even goes beyond that. Some of the aspects of estate planning may even come into play while you are still alive.
There are many elements of estate planning that you need to understand better. Partnering with an estate planning lawyer and continuing with the sections below should help with that goal of yours.
Creating a Last Will and Testament
The first aspect of estate planning we want to discuss is creating your will. Truthfully, this could be one of the more time-consuming parts of the entire endeavor.
Putting together a last will and testament involves identifying all your assets. You determine who your beneficiaries will be. After that, you decide how you want to divide your assets among your beneficiaries.
This is also when you will decide what kind of will you want to leave behind.
Do you want a more conventional will, a joint will, or a testamentary trust? Evaluate your situation carefully so you can identify the type of will you need to create.
Writing a Living Will
Apart from a conventional last will and testament, you may also consider creating a living will while sorting out your estate. It is important to sit back and think if you need both because they address different matters.
To be more specific, your last will and testament is all about your assets, while your living will indicates what kind of end-of-life care you want. Your living will should also lay out what kind of care you want to receive if you ever become incapacitated.
Choosing an Executor
According to the state of New York, the executor is the person you put in charge of your will. Their job will be to implement your directives in the document you provided.
You should name your executor in your will. We want to highlight this here to emphasize the importance of selecting the right person.
The state of New York does not put a lot of restrictions on who can be the executor of your will. As long as the person you have selected is at least 18 years old, and of sound mind, the court should have no issue with them being your executor. They should also be a U.S. citizen or a non-citizen who lives in the state.
Many people you know can be the executor of your will. Still, choose someone with plenty of available time because executing a will can involve completing numerous tasks.
Providing Power of Attorney
As you get older, you may find that handling your affairs is harder than before. You may not have enough energy to complete all the tasks on your to-do list. If you lack the energy to manage all your affairs, you should consider providing power of attorney to someone you trust.
Power of attorney is a document that gives someone the authority to act on your behalf. It will prove useful if you need to complete important financial transactions.
The person you gave power of attorney to, otherwise known as your agent, can open and close bank accounts in your name. You can also authorize them to buy or sell your properties and other possessions.
Your agent may also address your personal affairs as long as the document you created authorizes them to do so. The person must be someone you trust completely.
Note, the power of attorney can be temporary or permanent. It can also take effect right away, or they must meet certain conditions first before it is deemed valid. You can decide what kind of power of attorney you are providing as you draw up the document.
Paying Estate Taxes
Depending on how much money you are leaving to your beneficiaries in your will, your estate may be subjected to a tax. Aptly enough, the tax in question is known as the estate tax.
For those who may be unaware, the estate tax rate in New York ranges from 3.06 to 16 percent. SmartAsset points out that estates exceeding $6.11 million are the ones that will have additional taxes. The estate tax could also go up due to inflation.
Paying estate taxes can be troublesome especially if you have never dealt with them before. You can leave the task of paying those taxes up to your estate planning attorney. That should free you up to tend to other matters.
Donating to Charities
You may also decide that you want some of your money to go to charity after you pass away. If so, you can set that up with your estate lawyer.
The lawyer you are working with can help draw up the plans for your charitable contributions. They can also point you in the direction of reputable charities.
Proper estate planning can take a long time, so start on it as soon as you can. Partner with us at the Alber Law Group, and we will help you every step of the way. Contact us today if you wish to learn more about our estate planning services.
Estate Planning Attorney FAQs
There is a New York State and Federal tax that is charged to estates of certain threshold values.
In 2021, a person has a Federal lifetime exclusion of $11,700,000 and a New York State lifetime exclusion of $5,930,000. This means that there is no federal or state estate/gift tax if the deceased’s estate is lower than the specified amounts and the deceased had a sufficient uneroded amount of the lifetime exclusion. On January 1, 2026, lifetime exclusion amounts are set to sunset back to the pre-2018 amounts, as adjusted for inflation.
It depends on a variety of factors (was there a step up in basis at the time of the deceased’s death, has there been a substantial increase in the value of the asset after the deceased’s death, etc.).
The “ongoing” activity of the business and the “distribution of business assets” are two separate issues. The analysis is as follows: (a) what type of business entity was the business (corporation, limited liability company, etc.); (b) was the deceased the sole owner of the business entity; (c) was there a written agreement governing the business owners and specifying what the process is for when an owner deceases; (d) if no agreement, what does the default New York State law provide; (e) are there ample assets, funds, and skilled resources to continue the business, and, if yes, what are the terms for the use of such assets and skilled resources.
A “business success plan” is a written plan (often corporate documentation and estate planning documentation) that establishes the procedure to be followed when a business owner deceases, retires, or becomes disabled.
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