Mullen and Iannarone, P.C.
Serving the legal needs of corporations, individuals and
families of Suffolk County since 1972

The importance of detailed estate planning

New York residents may avoid creating a complex estate plan and decide that their property can simply be divided between heirs after their death. A will may state this desire that the property be evenly divided. However, what may end up happening is that the heirs become tenants in common. The problems with this is the rules around it are very rigid. Each owner has equal rights to the property. The majority of owners cannot override one owner's desire for how the property might be used. This can lead to an impasse.

In such an impasse, a judge can force the sale of the entire property. In another scenario, owners can bring a legal action for partition of property. The property could be divided into separate parcels. None of these are ideal, and this is why putting thought into an estate plan can be so important.

People may want to consider their hopes or goals for the property and how they can create an estate plan that will facilitate those goals. For example, if a business is involved, an estate plan could create a smooth transition.

Talking over wishes with loved ones may also reduce the likelihood of conflict. In some cases, a trust might be an option. People may think of trusts as tools for wealthy families, but trusts can give a person more control over how their assets are distributed. They can be used to manage assets for an irresponsible family member or to spread assets across generations. As part of an estate plan, people may also want to create documents that deal with their finances and health in the event that they become incapacitated. These documents might include a power of attorney, a living will and a health care proxy.

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