It's never too late for a basic crash course on estate planning. Often, people confuse estate planning with financial planning. They assume that a financial planner can help with all of their estate planning needs.
So, let's get back to basics here and talk about estate planning. Not everyone knows what it means. For starters, there's a difference between "financial planning" and "estate planning."
Financial planning focuses more on investment planning. You might have someone advising you on your stock portfolio or helping you figure out where to put your assets. A financial planner might help you choose an Independent Retirement Account or a 529 Education Savings Plan.
Those items aren't typically the job of an estate planning lawyer. While an estate planning attorney might have a good understanding of those issues, an estate planner's goal is to advise you on the proper documents and tools in place to plan for the succession of your assets.
In short, the estate planner works to figure out how you ensure that your assets go to the right person or place when you pass away.
This typically entails some degree of tax planning, as the estate planner must also take care to ensure that not too much of your assets go to paying estate or gift tax on your death.
An estate planner, unlike a financial planner, will be able to prepare complex trusts and wills. While many of these documents are available online or through do-it-yourself software, only a New York estate planning lawyer has a full understanding of the laws that come into play when planning an estate. Some of these laws include marital property rights and the right of a child who is omitted in the will.
Check out our related resources links for more information on estate planning and the documents needed for a good estate plan.
- The FindLaw Guide to Estate Planning (FindLaw - Free Download)
- The Basics: What are the Important Documents in an Estate Plan? (FindLaw's New York Estate Planning News)
- Search Directory of New York Estate Planning Lawyers (FindLaw)