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Estate Planning Archives

Make sure a trust is properly funded

People in New York often rely on trusts for the flexibility and control they provide during the estate planning process. In addition to the detailed vision for the future of a person's assets that trusts provide, they also enable people and their loved ones to avoid the complications and costs associated with the probate process. However, in order for people to make sure their plans are fully effective, it is important to ensure that the trusts they create are funded with all of the property that they want to include in the vehicle.

The different types of special needs trusts

Some people in New York who are creating an estate plan and have relatives with special needs might wonder whether a special needs trust might be an appropriate way to provide for those individuals. A trust is an estate planning vehicle that generally involves three participants, which are the creator of the trust, the trustee and the beneficiary. A special needs trust may be used to reduce the value of the creator's estate for tax purposes or an estate's value in order for a person to be eligible for Medicaid.

How interest rates impact trust decisions

Trust planning professionals in New York and throughout the country should be aware that interest rates are likely to rise in the short-term. It is also likely that the past decade of low interest rates is set to gradually come to an end. Therefore, it is a good idea for those professionals to start adjusting the advice that they give to their clients.

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.

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.

Why create estate plans

No matter how much wealth New York resident may have, it is important that he or she develops an estate plan. An estate plan that is tailored to a person's unique situation can provide him or her with more privacy, control and security of their legacy.

Strategies for developing and communicating an estate plan

A New York resident who has assets to share with family members, charities or associates should plan the broad strokes of their estate plan before delving into the details of the paperwork. The estate holder should establish their goals for wealth, such as funding educations or creating inter-generational wealth. At the same time, they could benefit from communicating their values and goals to heirs.

What to know about creating and managing a trust

A common mistake that people make when creating a trust is not picking the right person to oversee it. New York residents may prefer to have a bank or some other entity oversee it instead. These entities could have a greater ability to act as a fiduciary and have a better understanding of the other legal and administrative requirements related to being a trustee.