Everyone needs an Estate Plan!
A death in the family is not only emotionally difficult. It can also be legally or financially difficult. When individuals’ assets, financial obligations, and other matters are not left in order, they can become subject to expensive and time-consuming litigation initiated by governments, creditors, or even family members. Some of these legal difficulties can be avoided by proper estate planning.
Additionally, legislation directs courts to distribute deceased individuals’ estates to heirs in a uniform way, which may not reflect the wishes of the deceased. Individuals that would like to leave certain items to specific people, make donations to charities, or even stop certain people from receiving shares of their estate must make their wishes clear and legally binding by creating a will. Additionally, some people would like to have their assets invested, paid out over time, or preserved for the benefit of minors. These goals can only be accomplished through trusts.
Besides the distribution of property, end-of-life or health crisis issues can also be planned for in advance. By creating living wills, assigning healthcare proxies, and designating powers of attorney, individuals can make difficult times at least logistically and transactionally easier on their families and loved ones. Such legal documents can ensure that individuals’ finances and healthcare decisions are made by people they trust, rather than by court appointed guardians.
Responsible estate planning involves more than just a Will. Further, no one will or trust will serve the interests of everyone. It is impossible to create an estate plan that makes optimal use of an individual’s assets without strategically analyzing the resources, goals, and values that are necessarily unique to each individual.
A will is a written document that allows individuals to decide beforehand how their property will be disposed of after they die. Wills have certain limitations. Therefore there are other documents that can be executed in order to fully protect the testator’s wishes. A will should be viewed as a necessary and basic element of any estate plan.
A trust places one person’s (the grantor) property under the control of another person (the trustee), who is directed to maintain that property for the benefit of a third party (beneficiary).
Trusts provide a grantor with a wider variety of options and protections than does a simple will. Trusts can be executed either as an instrument unto itself, or as an element included within the body of a will. When considering if a trust in necessary or appropriate for a particular grantor’s estate plan, the grantor must first consider tax consequences (may require consultation with an accountant), the age of intended beneficiaries, or the liquidity of grantor’s assets.
There are many different types of trusts, some of which can be very complex. In selecting the type of trust which fits the needs of a particular grantor, it is wise to consult with an estate planning attorney.
The Law firm of Vaughn and Weber, PLLC can review your current Estate plan, or develop an Estate Plan for you. Call 516-858-2620 today to schedule a consultation. We are located in the heart of Long Island at 393 Jericho Turnpike, Suite 208, Mineola, NY 11501.