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The importance of estate planning

People living in New York may worry about their heirs having to pay estate taxes after they die. However, most people will never have to worry about federal estate taxes. They simply do not have enough money for this tax to become a factor in their estate planning, although the New York estate tax exemption is lower than the federal one.

This does not mean, however, that those of more modest means should not be concerned about tax planning. There are other ways that individuals can protect their heirs from having to pay more taxes than they need to. In addition, careful planning can also reduce emotional stress for loved ones who must manage the deceased's affairs.

Things that people may want to consider when drawing up their wills is how they want to handle issues of selling real estate, managing retirement accounts, and even dealing with potential tax liabilities triggered by the sale of a home, changing title on corporate real estate or transferring ownership of accounts.

Some people may benefit from speaking with an experienced attorney who can provide tax advice as well as additional counsel on preparing a will. In addition, even those individuals who have a will may benefit from having a lawyer review the will to make sure that it reflects their current financial situation. This may be particularly important for those who have undergone some changes in their financial or marital status since the last will was written.

An attorney may also be aware of changes in tax laws that can make a difference in how an estate is eventually distributed. The attorney may be able to advise a client on how to revise the will so as to ensure that the client's wishes are respected.

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