With a new administration poised to enter the White House and potentially recommend big changes to some tax laws, some New York residents might be wondering whether they should postpone creating an estate plan. However, this assumes that whatever new laws are put in place will still be there at the time of a person's death. In four or eight years, or even longer, those laws could be changed again. Therefore, a better approach is to create a plan that is flexible enough to encompass both current and future tax laws.
Estate planning for New York residents can require more than a basic will in some cases. Regardless of a person's financial status, several matters should be dealt with to both ensure one's wishes are carried out and protect the grieving family at a vulnerable time.
New York residents may be aware that baby boomers are the wealthiest generation of Americans in U.S. history. Whenthey pass away, they could transfer an estimated total of $30 trillion in assets to their children and grandchildren. However, if they don't properly plan their estates, the wealth that they hold could be chipped away before it is transferred to the next generations.
No matter how young or healthy an individual in New York or elsewhere may be, there are always good reasons to have a will. Yet, a 2011 poll showed that around 60 percent of Americans did not have one. Perhaps the best reason to have a will is that an individual could pass at any time. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, more than 90,000 people between the ages of 20 and 39 died in 2011.
New York residents might worry about how to best ensure that their wishes as expressed in their estate plan are carried out. One of the best ways to do this might simply be through communication with their heirs.
New York angel investors may be able to use estate planning in order to pass more of their assets to their beneficiaries with smaller tax burdens when they pass away. Estate planning can be used in a way to take advantage of high returns that are received on investments that are made in promising startups.
Placing their home in a living trust may be one option for New York residents who are creating an estate plan. There might be a number of reasons to do this instead of using a will to pass down assets to beneficiaries. One is that a trust means avoiding the probate process. This can potentially be both costly and lengthy. If a person owns homes in more than one state, then that property would have to go through probate in other states unless placed into a trust. A trust is also more private than a will.
Blended families and previous spouses can make the estate planning process more complicated than you think. You might want to include your previous spouse in your estate plan, especially if you have children together. You also need to consider any stepchildren from your current spouse, and the dynamic between all members of your family.
A family that was chronicled on the television show "American Greed" once had a $100 million fortune. The money was spent on vacations, diamonds and one trip to a strip club that cost $90,000. However, once the money ran out, family members began to feud with each other with one of them going to prison. One lawyer who has experience with estate planning says almost any family could learn from what they went through.
Infighting or drama within a family may make it harder to ensure that the terms of a will are honored. In a best case scenario, a will may be challenged in court, which may cause a delay in when a beneficiary receives his or her inheritance. However, there are ways to increase the odds that a will is honored. First, it may be possible for individuals to create a contract stating that the terms laid out in the will cannot change.