An important part of estate planning is determining who will be in charge of carrying out someone's wishes. In addition to having an executor of their will, people may also want to appoint a trusted individual as an agent under a power of attorney. Depending on how they are set up, a power of attorney may allow someone to make financial decisions for an individual or determine how that person should be cared for when they cannot make their own medical choices.
When buying life insurance in New York, it is a good idea to name a beneficiary. Failure to do so could force the proceeds of the policy to go through probate, which may create a situation where creditors have an opportunity to claim some or all of the money. By naming a beneficiary, the owner of the policy knows that the proceeds are passing to the intended recipient. In fact, it may be a good idea to name more than one person as a beneficiary.
Many New York residents who have written will or created other estate planning vehicles will likely have to revisit these documents after the occurrence of certain life milestones. As family members are added or subtracted and the contents of a person's financial portfolio grow, these changes must be accounted for in an updated estate plan.
A New York parent of a child with a disability may want to set up a special needs trust so that the child can still continue to receive government benefits such as health care upon disbursement of the assets. The special needs trust can be set up during the parent's lifetime or after his or her death, and the device may be able to help ensure the child's future stability.
Some people think that estate planning is complex and will cause family disputes while others simply do not want to think about asset distribution. Unfortunately, too many New York residents die without wills, a health proxy or power of attorney in place. The National Association of Estate Planners and Councils explains that it is important to have a living will and trusts in place not only to preserve assets but also to make estate administration and asset distribution easier on the family.
According to a recent survey, around 71 percent of individuals under the age of 34 do not have wills and 41 percent of Baby Boomers do not have them either. While preparing a will can be hard, it is essential for the majority of individuals. A will may help avoid potential disagreements among family regarding asset distribution. By preparing a will, individuals may be able to make their wishes known and ease the process of inheritance.
Fans of Philip Seymour Hoffman in New York were likely saddened to hear the news that the actor died in February and may be interested to learn that he did not leave anything to his children in his will. During his estate planning, he chose to leave his money to his girlfriend who is the mother of his three children, according to a court document. His attorney and his accountant reportedly encouraged him to create trust funds for his children, but Hoffman always refused.
Studies show that less than half of adults living in the United States have an estate plan in place. The main reasons for this neglect are that people believe they are not needed because they are unmarried and without children or they feel they do not have enough assets to make it necessary. In fact, estate planning covers more than just the dispensation of someone's belongings after they pass away; it also determines how people's finances and medical issues are handled if an individual is incapacitated.
New York residents who have estate plans in place should be advised that reevaluating them on a regular basis or when life-changing events occur is a prudent thing to do. It is recommended that staying current avoids problems in the future.
Estimates say that approximately half of all older adults do not have a will. However, for those who do have a will, it might not be good enough to write it and not keep it updated throughout the years. There are several reasons why it may be a good idea to go over a will or trust regularly and make changes as necessary.