Let's go back to the basics today. Do you really need your estate planned?
For many, the concept of planning an estate sounds like a bigger deal than it is. You might think you don't have enough of an estate to plan; after all, estate planning is for the wealthy, right?
You may also think that it's something that's easy to do by yourself. All you need to do is to write out your wishes on paper and go to a notary, right?
Finally, you might think that you don't need your estate planned because your heirs will all be able to come together amicably and decide how to divide your assets.
None of those reasons are 100% accurate.
First off, you don't need to have a million-dollar estate to plan it. In fact, estate planning is about so much more than just money. It's about your dying wishes. For example, have you named someone to take charge of your finances, if you're ever incapacitated? That's usually done through a financial power of attorney, which is a common estate planning tool.
Secondly, it's not as easy as drafting your will by yourself. You need to understand property laws and other rules, such as New York's rules about the validity of wills.
Finally, don't assume that your heirs will all come together and agree on everything. Even if they are able to come together and get along, the truth is that they aren't in full control over your estate. If you don't have a will, your estate will be distributed according to intestacy laws, which means that the Surrogate's Court will divide your assets under a scheme already laid out by law. So even if you promised one of your heirs a certain amount of cash, without a valid will, the cash could go to another heir.
- 3 Complex Estate Planning Concepts (FindLaw's New York Estate Planning News)
- 5 Must-Have Documents in an Estate Plan (FindLaw's New York Estate Planning News)
- Top 5 Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- LegalStreet Has All of Your Estate Planning Needs (LegalStreet.com)
(Disclaimer: LegalStreet and FindLaw.com are owned by the same company.)