Living wills are part of a well balanced estate plan. Those who are considering including these documents within their estate plan often have many questions. Some of the more common are listed below.
New York residents will likely remember Dean Smith for his incredible coaching career that spanned 36 years and included two national championships with the North Carolina Tar Heels. However, recent disclosures indicate that Smith's was also astute in the area of estate planning. Smith bequeathed $200 to approximately 180 of his former players, but it is not his generosity that has drawn praise.
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.
While a living will or trust should be honored in any state in the nation, there is no guarantee that this is the case. Individuals who have just moved to New York from another state should know that, in many cases, a document such as a will may reference one's state law as the law governing the will or even reference specific statutes that are only applicable in a particular state. This can present problems if a person moves from one state to another without updating his or her estate plan.
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 planned for the disposition of their assets upon their death should consider making provisions in case of their mental incapacity. It is important to be sure that the estate is protected and that a person's plans for the estate do not change due to mental incapacity. Individuals should keep in mind that there is a difference in dementia and the forgetfulness that comes with ordinary aging. It is normal for people to forget things like names as they age. Older people may also have more difficulty learning, but neither of these things indicate that someone is unable to make competent financial decisions.
While some people in New York may assume that only the extremely wealthy need to engage in estate planning, this assumption is false. Everyone should take the time to carefully plan for the resolution of their estate to ensure that their desires are carried out, should they be unable to manage their estate after experiencing a severe injury or illness.