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Important estate planning matters

New Yorkers who are concerned about how their property will be handled after they die should consider creating an estate plan. A basic estate plan may consist of a will, a living trust and power of attorney and can be used to protect loved ones by designating trust guardians for children and safeguarding assets. However, in order for an estate plan to be effective, there are some things that should be avoided.

A will that does not provide clarity about the creator's intentions can result in legal issues for intended beneficiaries. People should closely review their will once it has been completed and verity that all beneficiaries are correct and that each will receive the intended share of assets.

Estate taxes are another issue individuals should consider when creating their estate plan. While estate taxes are typically a concern for those who have significant wealth, it is worth noting that the current presidential administration has indicated that it will replace the estate tax with a capital gains tax on inherited assets, which would apply only to estates worth more than $10 million. Individuals working on their estate plans should also know the difference between an inheritance tax and an estate tax. Inheritance taxes are assessed by the state and are paid by the individual who is inheriting assets.

An estate planning attorney may evaluate a client's assets and advise of the best tools to use. The attorney may assist with drafting the resulting documents, Long-term and short-term strategies for preserving certain types of assets may be discussed.

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