New York City Estate Planning Attorney

Do you know what will happen to your assets and, more importantly, your loved ones if you were to suddenly pass away? Do you have a minor child who would need a guardian appointed should something happen to you? Do you have material assets and without estate tax planning your loved ones would have to cut a large check to the State of New York and/or the Federal government?

There are various estate planning documents and strategies that should always be analyzed by a knowledgeable New York estate planning attorney to address each of these concerns. These crucial documents form the crux of a holistic approach towards minimizing your risk and ensuring that your wishes will be followed if you pass away or suddenly become incapacitated and are unable to make decisions for yourself. It is important to schedule a consultation with a New York estate planning attorney, not only to walk through those strategies that may be relevant to you, but to discuss any current documents you have that may need to be analyzed or updated.

As your family changes, your finances change, and estate tax laws change, it is extremely important to find someone who has extensive experience in this area of the law and who is up to date on all of the most recent changes in state and federal laws and plans in a way that puts your family first.

Crucial Estate Planning Documents for NY Residents

There are five essential estate planning documents that may be utilized with various other strategies and tools, depending on your unique situation. The most basic estate planning document, and the first one most people think of when they consider “estate planning”, is a Last Will and Testament. A Will is used to express your last wishes and how your estate will be allocated to your beneficiaries after you pass away. A Will is a good fit for some, but certainly not everyone. Those with minor children, or material assets, will likely find the second estate planning document to be a better fit: a Revocable Living Trust. A Trust provides privacy, avoids probate, and is simply a more conducive tax and long-term planning vehicle than a Will. The third most important document in your estate plan is your durable power of attorney, which enables you to name someone else to make financial decisions on your behalf in the event that you are not able to handle matters on your own because you have become incapacitated. The fourth important document for estate planning purposes is a health care power of attorney that allows a healthcare agent to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. A living will is the fifth basic document for estate planning purposes. This allows you to state your wishes for medical care, if you were to be under particular medical circumstances such as permanently vegetative with no hope for recovery.

The individuals you name as agents should be selected carefully and be aware of your individual preferences while you are still of sound mind. The time to plan is now, not once it’s too late.

Planning your estate involves complicated and difficult decisions about private matters. You need to entrust these concerns to a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer in New York. Some of the concerns you may have when you schedule a consultation include guardianships, tax considerations, health care decisions, disposition of your estate, asset management, asset protection and division of assets.

Do I Really Need an Estate Planning Lawyer In New York?

If you own any property in New York, you need an estate plan. While some estates can be approached relatively simply, others are quite complex and many people make the mistake of assuming that they do not need estate planning. Do not let your loved ones find out after it is too late that you could have benefited from comprehensive estate planning. There are several different things that need to be accomplished in the process of estate planning, including:

  • Inventorying your property to determine what you currently own and what you owe in the form of debt.
  • Identifying how that property is owned.
  • Naming guardians for your minor children.
  • Determining who will manage the assets left to your loved ones.
  • Naming beneficiaries, especially on life insurance and retirement accounts.
  • Clarifying strategies that could reduce the amount of property that passes through probate court in New York.
  • Putting together a last will and testament.
  • Developing appropriate revocable and irrevocable trusts.
  • Reviewing insurance policies.
  • Figuring out strategies to minimize expenses and taxes linked to the distribution of your estate.
  • Choosing the professionals who will help with the development of an estate plan.
  • Planning for burial and funeral expenses.
  • Updating and reviewing your plan regularly.
  • Planning for liquidity of assets to pay debts.

Avoid Mistakes by Working with an Estate Planning Lawyer You Can Trust

The most common estate planning mistakes can all be avoided by scheduling a consultation with an attorney. Far too many people believe they do not have enough assets to worry about and leave a legal mess behind for their loved ones to sort through.
Whether its forgetting to update your will or trust, not having an estate plan at all, failing to name long and short-term guardians for your children, putting a child’s name on a deed without discussing the consequences with a lawyer or failing to plan for a disability, these can all jeopardize your future and the future of your loved ones. It is far better to schedule a meeting with a lawyer you can trust today – contact the office of Gabriel Katzner today to learn more about proper estate planning and how it can benefit you and your family.

Common Questions about estate planning

Payable-on-death accounts may be used to allow assets held in the account to transfer outside of the probate process. It is one way of avoiding the probate process and allowing your heirs to inherit money immediately after you pass away.

Your estate plan can be simple or complex based on your individual needs. This means ensuring that you include legal tools available in New York to assist you with the probate process. This can include trusts, wills, the creation of a power of attorney and incapacity plan, the purchase of insurance and a Medicaid plan.

Many states and the federal government don’t have inheritance taxes, so it is unlikely that your heirs will have to pay this type of tax. However, there are certain estate taxes that are imposed on estates beyond a certain value. Consulting with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney can assist you to figure out whether or not this applies in your individual situation.

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