Why Estate Planning Should be a Top Priority for You

Posted On February 1, 2024

Considering how our estates should be managed and distributed after our death is an important decision we must make throughout our lives. This involves deciding on the distribution of assets, selecting beneficiaries, and determining if and how you wish to leave a legacy. An estate plan is a tool that consolidates these decisions, incorporating elements such as a will, trusts, living wills, healthcare proxies, powers of attorney, and specific guidelines for managing your affairs after you pass away and, in some cases, during your lifetime.

Estate planning is more than just preparing for the future; it’s about securing peace of mind for you and your loved ones. At New York Legacy Lawyers, our Brooklyn estate planning attorneys understand the complexities and nuances of New York estate law. We can guide you in creating a comprehensive plan that protects your assets, respects your wishes, and provides for your family. Contact us at (718) 713-8080 to schedule a consultation.

The Estate Plan Concept is for Everyone

When the word “estate” gets used some people immediately think of those with a lot of money or palatial property. In reality, every person has an estate.

Your estate is everything that you own. It includes your valued family treasures, the silverware in your dishwasher, and your kids’ toys alike…and everything in between! 

Of course, it’s not just physical possessions either; it can consist of your bank accounts and insurance policies, retirement accounts, and items that you have been saving for your children and grandkids.

An estate plan will help you protect all of these things, and more, giving you the ability to discern what happens to it all when you pass away.

What Are Estate Planning Goals?

Estate planning is a crucial part of managing assets, focusing on the effective distribution and management of your assets according to your wishes upon your passing. It is more than just the distribution of property; it involves making choices that reflect your personal values and objectives. The common goals of estate planning include:

  • Providing for Loved Ones: This goal is central to most estate plans as it involves decisions regarding asset inheritance and specific distributions. Without a plan, state laws may dictate these matters, possibly in ways that do not align with your personal wishes.
  • Mitigating or Avoiding Probate: Probate can be a costly and lengthy process. Effective estate planning can simplify or bypass this procedure, sparing your heirs the expense and stress of a prolonged legal process. Techniques such as setting up trusts or designating beneficiaries can help to achieve this goal.
  • Minimizing Taxes: Estate taxes can considerably reduce the worth they are passed on to your beneficiaries. Strategic estate planning can help reduce or eliminate these taxes, ensuring beneficiaries or chosen charities receive the maximum benefit from your estate.
  • Ensuring Orderly Asset Management: Estate planning can prevent asset mismanagement or loss during the transition period after your death. This includes appointing reliable executors or trustees and giving them clear instructions on how to manage and distribute your assets.
  • Asset Protection: Your estate plan can also include measures to protect your assets from lawsuits, creditors, and other threats. This might involve setting up certain types of trusts or business structures to protect your assets from potential liabilities.
  • Planning for Incapacity: Preparing for the possibility of mental or physical incapacity is an often overlooked but vital part of estate planning. Setting up powers of attorney or advance health care directives ensures that your affairs are handled in accordance with your wishes if you become incapable of managing them yourself.
  • Appointing Guardians for Minor Children: If you have young children, it’s essential for your estate plan to include arrangements for their guardianship in the event that you and your spouse pass away unexpectedly.

A Brooklyn estate planning attorney understands the intricacies of achieving your unique estate planning goals. Whether you aim to protect your assets, minimize tax liabilities, or ensure a seamless transfer of wealth to your heirs, New York Legacy Lawyers is committed to guiding you through the entire process. Contact us to initiate your personalized estate planning journey today.

Estate Planning Goals Description
Providing for Loved Ones Decisions regarding asset inheritance and specific distributions, ensuring that state laws do not dictate matters contrary to your wishes.
Mitigating or Avoiding Probate Simplifying or bypassing the costly and lengthy probate process through effective estate planning methods like trusts or beneficiary designations.
Minimizing Taxes Reducing or eliminating estate taxes to maximize the benefit received by beneficiaries or chosen charities.
Ensuring Orderly Asset Management Preventing asset mismanagement or loss during the transition after your death by appointing reliable executors or trustees and providing clear instructions for asset management and distribution.
Asset Protection Implementing measures to safeguard assets from lawsuits, creditors, and other threats, possibly by establishing specific types of trusts or business structures.
Planning for Incapacity Preparing for potential mental or physical incapacity by setting up powers of attorney or advance health care directives to ensure your affairs align with your wishes if you become incapable of managing them yourself.
Appointing Guardians for Minor Children Including arrangements for the guardianship of young children in your estate plan to provide for their care if you and your spouse pass away unexpectedly.

An Estate Plan for the Living?

There are situations we’ve all experienced or watched friends go through, when a person becomes physically or mentally unable to care for themselves or even make good choices for themselves. An estate plan becomes the means for someone in that state to still have some control, albeit from decisions they’ve prepared ahead of time.

While you have the capacity to make plans today, you can assign power of attorney to a specific person you trust and even include medical care instructions when or if the need arises. Should you become incapable or incapacitated, but still alive, everything you have is then protected from your actions, or from predatory strangers taking advantage of you while you are unable to understand or say, “No!”

When A Stranger Has Control

This scenario is probably the scariest part of NOT creating a plan. Without the guidance of a will, trust, power of attorney, or other aspects of an estate plan, complete strangers may be left to decide what happens to everything you have. These aren’t shady characters in back-alleys, necessarily. They are usually judges, or doctors, or other professionals. But what they likely will not be is someone who knows you intimately, understands the dynamics of your family, and has the benefit of decades of experience being you and making the decisions on your health and wealth that YOU would make.

Your Estate Plan is Dynamic

Some choose not to develop an estate plan until they are older; this may be because they mistakenly believe that an estate plan cannot be modified once it is completed. The truth is that for an estate plan to work for you, it must be dynamic. Your estate plan should grow with you and change as the circumstances in your life change and evolve. For this reason, it’s essential that as you seek to establish your estate plan, you look for an estate planning attorney you can trust.

Knowing Who You Can Trust

We have been helping people plan and manage their estate plans for over 15 years. We take the time to listen to your concerns, so we can offer the advice and guidance that will best help you develop the right plan for your family and situation. For more information or help with your estate plan, please contact us today. Enlist the help of a New York legacy lawyer to secure your family’s future.