Although some New York couples may equally share in the financial management of a household, in many cases, one partner tends to take primary responsibility for such matters. This can be a challenge with regard to estate planning due to the fact that a disconnected spouse might struggle in taking over such issues after a partner's death. However, a spouse who is aware of the challenges that a partner would face in knowing what to do after their death can enlist the help of an estate planning professional to minimize the difficulties of that transition.
It is helpful to be sure that a surviving spouse will have a level of trust in and comfort with the individual selected for estate administration needs. It is also important to refrain from providing that professional with unnecessary information such as account passwords. However, that person's ability to easily direct a surviving spouse through necessary steps after the other's death could minimize problems and ensure that assets are transferred efficiently.
An estate planning lawyer is often viewed as the individual who ensures that wills and trusts are completed legally so that one's final wishes can be handled without unnecessary legal entanglements. However, providing that individual with copies of these documents as well as retirement account details, life insurance policies and business agreements can simplify the situation for surviving heirs. Instead of tracking down these multiple entities, they can focus on that single call to the lawyer.
Every family's situation is unique, making it important to discuss estate management concerns as decisions are made. In working with an estate planning lawyer, guidance in how to compile essential documents can be provided. Additionally, the lawyer can clearly explain how matters will be handled after the death of the property owner, providing appropriate contact information so that asset transitions can be initiated.
Source: Forbes Magazine, "The Single Most Important -- And Unconventional -- Estate Planning Tip You Will Ever Get", Charles Sizemore, March 19, 2015