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June 2018 Archives

What to put in an estate plan

While a will is an essential part of an estate plan, it should not be the whole plan. An estate plan should lay out what a New York resident wants to happen after he or she dies, why it should happen and who will make sure that it does. By putting together a formal plan, it can make life easier for heirs and save them money when it comes time to settle the estate.

Revising an estate plan during a divorce

When people in New York experience a major life change, such as a divorce, it might be necessary to also make changes to their estate plan. Some changes may be made during the divorce. For example, if the spouse has been chosen to make healthcare decision if the person is incapacitated, an individual may want to choose someone else for this role. The person may also want to consider whether the financial power of attorney should be changed. A spouse who is named in this document will be able to control all the person's assets in the event of incapacity.

Estate planning provides protection for the future

When people in Onondaga County think about the future, it can be important to make preparations to protect one's assets and one's loved ones. However, despite the importance of estate planning to meet those goals, at least 40 percent of older Americans do not have basic documents in place that can help them ensure their financial and health matters are addressed if they become incapacitated or pass away. When people don't have the framework in place to protect themselves, they can become more vulnerable to those with ill intent; 20 percent of Americans over 65 are the victims of financial abuse.

Is your parents' estate at risk of going up in smoke?

Maybe your parents worked hard for years to build a family business that has grown beyond anything they thought possible, and they have been able to provide very nicely for you and your siblings. They have been open with everyone from the beginning about who stands to inherit what. For instance, maybe they slated you to get their house, while your siblings split ownership of the family business.

How to avoid common estate planning errors

Many New York residents are prone to making mistakes when creating wills and other estate planning documents. Unfortunately, these mistakes can result in larger tax bills or family members being denied inheritances. One common mistake is not naming a contingent beneficiary on a retirement or insurance account. Failing to name a contingent beneficiary means that the asset will go directly to the estate itself. That could mean leaving it exposed to creditor claims or a probate court.