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Estate Planning Archives

The necessary elements of an estate plan

Getting an estate plan together may be a New Year's resolution for some people in New York. To start, an estate planner will need a last will and testament. This directs assets to beneficiaries. Before creating a will, however, one should review their assets and address any issues related to property ownership or other unfinished business.

The benefits of creating an estate plan

An estate plan can be beneficial to anyone who lives in New York, regardless of their age or level of wealth. The first step in the process is to create an inventory of assets that may need to be transferred upon passing. These assets could include life insurance policies, the title to a car or the title to a home.

Including life insurance in an estate plan

Life insurance can be a tool for people in New York to help them plan for the future. As the youngest members of the baby boomer generation will turn 55 in 2019, many are turning their thoughts to estate planning, including how to pass on their property to their loved ones after they are gone. Life insurance can help people transfer wealth and plan for the future on multiple levels. According to some studies, 42 percent of baby boomers don't have an estate plan in place. Many more who do have wills in place have not reviewed the documents in years.

Tips to creating an estate plan

New York residents are strongly encouraged to have a will as part of their estate plan. In some cases, the will itself will be sufficient to accomplish a person's goals. However, there is a chance that more than just a will is necessary to create a proper estate plan. It is essential to understand that there are many different ways to transfer assets such as using a beneficiary designation or payable on death designation.

Terminating power of attorney

When individuals living in New York establish an estate plan, many of them opt to designate a trusted friend or relative with power of attorney. Power of attorney allows an appointed individual to act on behalf of somebody who is no longer able to make decisions for him or herself.

Long-term married couples and estate plans

Situations in which long-term married couples die with a short time period of one another bring up a number of estate planning issues. Couples in New York who have been married for a long time should be aware that it can make the administration of their estate more difficult for surviving loved ones. The way the estate has to be handled will depend on the time in between the deaths of the spouses and their specific estate plan details.

Estate planning mistakes that many people make

Many New York residents have a difficult time thinking about dying. However, failing to plan for what happens after passing can leave heirs and other surviving friends and family members with a lot of questions to answer. It could also lead to squabbles between siblings or others over how assets should be transferred or shared. For example, a beneficiary designation trumps any language in a will or trust.

Lessons learned from Stan Lee's estate

Stan Lee fans who live in New York may know that the comics creator was involved in some controversy at the end of his life related to his assets. He reported $1.4 million had been stolen from him at one point, and he also had a dispute with his daughter. He signed a notarized document accusing her of befriending men to take advantage of him and later took it back.

How to make estate planning easier

For many New York residents, estate planning is a relatively straightforward process. In most cases, individuals will need to make sure that their documents are easy to access and review their beneficiary designations every so often. However, people who have business interests or complicated estates may need more help managing their affairs. Estates may also be harder to manage if an individual experiences cognitive decline.

What to do about assets such as art and other heirlooms

New York residents who are creating an estate plan might find that while passing on certain assets, such as cash and stocks, is relatively straightforward, dealing with some other types can be far more complex. So-called "hard" or "illiquid" assets such as jewelry, art collections or property might present difficulties regarding value as well as who to leave them to and in what manner.