Any time is a good time to consider your family’s financial future and to plan for inheritances. Our New York estate planning attorneys continue to help clients save money and gain the peace of mind that comes with knowing that a plan is in place to guarantee that one’s wishes will be carried out down the road. However, there remain many local residents who are still unsure if they need to craft a New York estate plan. Discussions about death and asset transfers are naturally an uncomfortable topic, but it is hard to overestimate the benefit that a family can gain by handling these issues ahead of time.
Sharing information about the importance of the task is one of the main goals behind the National Estate Planning Awareness Week. As discussed this week in the Review Journal, the yearly program is sponsored by the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils (NAEPC) and is slated this year for October 17th to the 23rd. Besides sharing basic information about the value of estate planning, the NAEPC also hopes to use the week to educate the public on the best ways to develop productive relationships with their planning professionals. For one thing, it is always very helpful to gather personal and financial information together in one place before meeting with the professional. That information includes a list of assets and liabilities, retirement plan information, life insurance policies, property deeds, income tax returns, business agreements, and similar materials.
On top of these records, all community members should also do some thinking about their goals and concerns before beginning the process. On the most basic level, one should consider who they would like to receive an inheritance and what specific items they would like to pass along. A large part of that process includes consideration of the unique situations of certain family members that make it reasonable for them to receive more or less of an inheritance. In addition, thought should be given to who should be named guardians for minors and who would make a good executor for a will or trustee for a trust. However, a community member need not have every single detail figured out ahead of time. Experienced planners are often able to provide advice on these issues and share thoughts about how certain family dynamics may influenced by the process.
Every New York estate planning lawyer at our firm also reminds community members that crafting an estate plan can involve emotions as well as finances. To communicate the emotions connected to these issues, we encourage many residents to create letters of instruction as part of their planning package. These letters pass along important thoughts and values and complement the technical language of estate planning documents.
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