Mullen and Iannarone, P.C.
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The elements of an estate plan

Some New York residents may be among the 64 percent of U.S. adults who said they did not have a will in a 2016 survey. A will is one element of an estate plan. It can designate who will receive assets, appoint a guardian for children and even state how sentimental items will be distributed. A trust is another option that can distribute assets to loved ones.

As part of an estate plan, people may want to leave instructions for end-of-life care and for a funeral. They might also want to consider how they want their social media accounts handled.

Assets from life insurance policies, bank accounts and brokerage accounts are passed on by beneficiary designations. It is possible to name multiple beneficiaries. These documents along with all other important papers dealing with finances and assets, including car and real estate deeds, should be kept together and stored in a secure place that the estate executor is aware of. If people own a business, they may want to consider creating a succession plan. Estate plans should be revised regularly to account for changes in the family such as births, deaths, divorces and marriages.

People who are creating an estate plan may want to discuss their specific goals with an attorney, and the attorney may be able to suggest solutions that will help ensure that their wishes are carried out. Estate planning for a person who is concerned about reducing estate tax may be approached very differently from estate planning for someone who is primarily concerned about creating a health care proxy or taking care of a relative with special needs. The client might also want to discuss with both loved ones and the attorney who the best choice might be for various roles such as executor or trustee.

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