New York residents who have wills likely appointed an executor whose job is to make sure the testator's wishes are carried out. This typically involves managing an estate until the testator's assets and property can be divided among beneficiaries, but there are instances when a beneficiary must take action if an executor is not properly administering an estate.
There are many events in a New York resident's life that could trigger an update to their estate plan. If people have yet to draw up their first will, they may start thinking about what to put in their will during the important events in their life. Some of the life events that can tell a person it's time to write or amend a will could be a marriage, the birth of a child, a divorce or the death of a family member.
Estate planning is an ongoing process for New York residents. The initial estate planning documents that are created usually need to be updated every few years to reflect changes to asset values, state residency and family structure. Some people might wish to update their estate plans in order to take advantage of tax saving strategies or modify the list of beneficiaries of their estate.
In the past, an irrevocable trust may have had one trustee or two co-trustees to oversee its execution. Today, there may be many people serving in key roles to ensure that the trust is properly executed. One important role is that of the general trustee who keeps records and who files tax returns for the trust. In some states, it may be possible for one person to create a trust, be a beneficiary of the trust and hold assets outside of the trust.
With every new year, New York residents may wish to review their estate plan documents in the event there are changes in federal and state estate tax laws. An estate plan that is not current with the laws and rules may be subject to unexpected taxes or other changes, which could ultimately affect a testator's beneficiaries.
Individuals in New York who are working on their estate plan may wonder how to ensure that their beneficiaries get the most amount of money from that estate. Even those who fall well under the $5.45 million estate tax exemption can benefit from strategies that keep the money in the family.
New York residents may be surprised to learn that an Austrian grandmother recently shredded currency equaling $1,020,490 in order to keep her family from inheriting the money. The shredded bits of cash were discovered on her nursing home bed just prior to her death, according to media reports.
New York residents create wills and trusts to ensure that their families are financially secure when they pass away. Despite this, many family members could spend months or years searching for the legal, financial and health care documents. Along with putting all of these items in one place and making them accessible to family members, digital document archives are generally less expensive than traditional estate planning methods.
While some New York residents may believe that there is no reason to draft an estate plan if they do not have children, this could not be further from the truth. Individuals without children must take extra precautions regarding the disposition of their assets because they are not as protected by laws of intestacy as people with children are. New York's laws of intestacy favor a surviving spouse or children to inherit a decedent's belongings. However, unmarried or childless individuals may wind up having a long-lost relative inherit their belongings if they do not have a valid will or trust.
Many New York residents who diligently plan their estates tend to overlook some important things in their wills. One of the most crucial elements that a lot of people forget to include is an alternate beneficiary. In the event that the primary beneficiary is deceased or unable to inherit assets because of their age or mental capacity, a will must leave instructions for a backup plan.