When people in New York plan for the future for themselves and their families, estate planning can be a big part of the picture. However, only 4 out of every 10 Americans over the age of 60 have important documents in place to deal with their finances or healthcare decisions in case of incapacity. These kinds of documents can help to protect people from elder abuse, fraud and other types of negative outcomes. Across the country, 20 percent of Americans over 65 are financially abused; however, only 10 percent expect that it could happen to them.
New York residents can use a trust to protect assets intended for future generations and as a form of tax management for those assets. However, it is important that the person they select to oversee the trust is able to properly carry out the duties the position entails.
At one time, estate planning consisted of merely a last will and testament. For the very wealthy, it might have consisted of a trust. In modern times, estate planning can and should be much more than just preparing a will. New York residents should consider some of the options available.
New York residents can include provisions in their estate plan that allow part of their estate to be given to their favorite charities. Changes in federal laws regarding gift and estate taxes are likely to impact the manner in which charity is integrated into an individual's estate plan.
New York residents and others may have qualms about leaving assets outright to a minor child. However, it may also be a good idea to leave assets meant for adult children in a trust. The primary reason to leave assets in a trust is that advanced age doesn't necessarily translate into advanced financial skill. As the value of an inheritance increases, it is critical that whoever oversees it has the type of financial skills necessary to manage it properly.
One of the major mistakes New York residents can make when devising their estate plans is not using a strategy that allows assets to bypass the probate process. Probate, which can be costly and slow, is a legal process through which assets must pass if they are transferred to beneficiaries via a will.
People in New York should consider an estate plan with the appropriate legal documents in place so that any financial or healthcare decisions made on their behalf are done according to their preferences. Having an estate plan is not only about planning for assets but also accounting for if an individual is incapacitated and unable to make decisions on their own.
New York residents may find that they are best served by creating an estate plan as soon as possible. One man almost had to pursue guardianship of his father after not understanding how a power of attorney worked. The man thought that he could create and sign the document on his own. However, for the POA to be valid, the father would have to sign it.
New York residents may be able to use a domestic asset protection trust as part of their estate plan. One of the most common reasons such a trust is used is to protect assets from creditors. However, state law may allow for the transfer of assets to such a trust to be voided. In many cases, this applies to existing creditors whether they are known or not.
Estate planning can be used by people in New York to protect their assets for future generations. However, there are some common estate planning mistakes they should take care to avoid.