If the time has come for you to begin preparing for the future, making sure that your property and assets are properly handled, a New York estate planning lawyer can work with you to ensure that your affairs are in order. An experienced trusts and estates attorney can help you understand how various tools, such as wills, trusts, and gifts, can help you to keep control of your assets and property and ensure that it is disposed of exactly as you wish.
How a Lawyer can Help
Our legal team has extensive experience helping clients with estate planning. We offer a full range of estate planning services, including:
- A full assessment of assets and property term
- Advice on how to minimize taxes and other expenses
- Creation or revocation of relevant legal documents, such as wills and powers of attorney
- Assistance with asset or property transfer, when applicable
New York estate planning lawyers provide clients with guidance each step of the way.
Estate Planning in New York
Estate planning involves making preparations for the disposal of an individual’s estate. The goal is to maximize the value of the estate by reducing tax liabilities and other expenses, which can be accomplished with a wide variety of tools including:
- Powers of attorney
- Property ownership
New York has many laws that make estate planning assistance particularly important in this state. For example, for the most part, New York does not recognize oral or handwritten wills. Also, wills that are not completed with the formalities required may not be recognized. This is particularly important because when a person passes without a will, their assets are disposed of in accordance with a statutory formula and not necessarily your wishes. Having a valid will and estate plan in place can help ensure that arrangements are made for as many assets as possible to pass outside of probate.
Estate planning can also help you minimize tax consequences when possible. Creating a trust may achieve this goal, and New York recognizes a variety of different types of trusts. Gifts during life can also help avoid tax consequences, but there are limitations on gifts that are non-taxable in New York.
Considerations for Estate Planning
The amount of time it takes to plan an estate can vary, depending on the nature of the client’s assets and how the client wants to dispose of his or her assets. A client can help the process move forward by being responsive to requests and having information ready and organized.
It is preferable for a person to work with a New York estate planning attorney if they live in New York State. An attorney based in New York will be familiar with the applicable laws and processes. It is never too early to have an estate plan in place, particularly for individuals with children and a lot of assets.
Handling a person’s affairs is always easier if an estate plan is in place. If things are in order when the person passes away or gets ill, it has all been considered and arranged, which makes life a lot easier for their family and loved ones. There are a few steps a person can take to begin the estate planning process. They can find an attorney they would like to work with, and compile a list of all their assets and their wishes for those assets after they are gone.
Difficulties of Planning in New York
Unlike many jurisdictions, New York has its own estate tax. This is in addition to the federal estate tax to which all U.S. citizens are subject. There are also specific statutory rights that spouses have. Widows and widowers must be given a percentage of the estate of the first spouse to die. The survivor has the right to claim it, so an individual planning an estate in New York should be mindful of that. For an existing estate plan, a person would want to speak to their attorney about any changes they may want to make.
There are a number of life events that may necessitate adjustments to an estate plan, such as the birth of a child, the death of a loved one or a relative, getting married or divorced, receiving an inheritance, winning the lottery, or having a very big capital gain as a result of the sale of something. Planning an estate can become very complicated when a person has had multiple marriages. An experienced New York estate planning lawyer can help navigate the process.
Contacting an Attorney
Estate planning ensures that an individual’s assets are distributed to the individuals of their choice, which might not be the case if no plan is put into place. Regardless of your level of wealth, estate planning is very important to ensure that you will leave as much of your estate as possible to those of your choosing.
The role of a New York estate planning lawyer is to help clients take steps to maximize their estate while minimizing the red tape and frustration that can sometimes accompany these pursuits. Our New York estate planning attorneys are cognizant of the sensitive nature of estate planning and can give you the guidance and important understanding you need to put a thorough plan into place for your own peace of mind.