Checklist for New York Estate Planning

NY estate planning lawyer

Help From a NY Estate Planning Lawyer

All adults should have estate plans in place. The particular types of estate planning documents will depend on your individual needs and wishes. New York estate planning lawyer Lesly R. Devereaux helps people with all types of estate planning documents. Here is a checklist to help you understand what is involved.

Basics of Estate Plans

A thorough estate plan should include plans for what will happen after you die or if you become disabled and incapacitated. Your estate plan should include information about your wishes for how your property and assets will be distributed after your death. It should also include what you would like to happen to ensure your family’s financial well-being and consider how to minimize or eliminate taxes. Finally, your plan should address whether probate will be avoided.

Beneficiary Designations

Certain types of assets can be transferred directly to the beneficiaries outside of the probate process. New York allows people to place payable on death designations on their bank and savings accounts. The person who is the beneficiary will not be able to access the accounts until after your death. Other types of assets with beneficiary designations include life insurance policies, brokerage accounts, and retirement accounts. Reviewing your beneficiary designations whenever you undergo changes in your life is important to ensure that the assets will go to the people you want to receive them.

Paying Your Debts

Making sure that all of your debts will be paid for if you die or are disabled can be handled by purchasing the right types of insurance. In addition to auto insurance, you should also have homeowners’ insurance, short- and long-term disability insurance, and life insurance.

Write a Last Will and Testament

Your last will and testament will cover any probate assets you own. It will also cover who will serve as the guardian to your minor children in the event you die. In your will, you will also designate who will receive property that is not jointly owned and will not be received through a beneficiary designation. You will appoint a trusted person to serve as the executor of your estate.

Determine whether You Need a Living Trust

If you have many beneficiaries or a substantial estate, you might want to consider establishing a revocable living trust. A trust can help to minimize estate taxes and avoid probate. Assets held in the trust also are passed outside of the probate process, giving a greater degree of privacy for your family. You will transfer titles of property to the living trust and serve as the trustee. While you are alive, you will control the property. After you die, your successor trustee will transfer the assets to the trust beneficiaries. Your successor trustee can also manage your trust if you are incapacitated and no longer able to make decisions for yourself. New York estate planning lawyer Lesly Devereaux can review your situation and goals and explain whether a living trust is a good option.

Create Durable Powers of Attorney

Two other documents you should consider are financial and medical durable powers of attorney. These documents allow you to grant the authority to make financial or medical decisions for you if you are incapacitated and no longer able to make the decisions by yourself. Your power of attorney can be created to immediately grant power to someone else to act on your behalf immediately if you are unavailable to act. For example, you could execute a financial power of attorney to allow someone you trust to take care of your bank account and bills while you are outside of the U.S. for an extended period of time.

Create a Living Will

A living will or advance directive lets you write what you wish to happen when you are nearing the end of your life. This document talks about the types of life-extending treatment that you do or don’t want to receive.

Create a Statement of Desires

While this document is not legally binding, it can help to guide your executor. You should include information about where all of your financial accounts are located. List your credit cards, insurance policies, mortgage, and vehicle loans with account numbers and contact information. Your statement should also include the contact information of everyone you want to be contacted and told about your death and where your assets are located. Finally, you will want to include your wishes for how your remains will be handled and anything you would like to occur at your funeral.

Hiring a NY Estate Planning Lawyer Lesly Devereaux

Regardless of your age, you should consider creating an estate plan. Even young adults can benefit from estate planning. NY estate planning lawyer Lesly Devereaux is experienced with helping people of all different backgrounds create estate plans that help them meet their specific needs and goals. Contact our firm today to schedule an appointment by calling us at 212-804-5736.

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