The majority of New York residents don't have a large amount of savings or assets to plan their estates around. However, estate planning is not just for the Rockefellers of the world.
Estate planning can simply be about protecting the equity of your home and trying to help your family stay together, sane and financially secure when you're no longer able to provide them with support. It doesn't have to be overly involved or complicated.
Putting together a simple estate plan
Estate planning can also stay relatively simple, so that it can be taken care of by your estate planning lawyer quickly and cost effectively. Let's say you have $5,000 in your savings account and no other invested asset, but you do have $100,000 of equity in your home.
In this situation, you can create an estate plan that ensures the right family members will inherit your home, while saving your family a lot of time and money by limiting the complexity of the probate process.
Here are the first four things you'll want to do when planning your estate:
- Stage one: You'll first want to decide who will inherit what. List out your assets, and don't forget small collectible items that might only have sentimental value, and write down the name of each person who will get which item.
- Stage two: Schedule a meeting with an estate planning lawyer. A lawyer will help you decide which basic estate planning components will satisfy your wishes and needs.
- Stage three: Get to know the law. Find out by talking with your lawyer whether a revocable living trust or a simple will might be more appropriate to meet your needs. Other estate planning tools may also be useful depending on your situation and the law.
- Stage four: Remember your health concerns. Include estate planning documents such as powers of attorney to for health care and financial assets so that someone can make decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacitation.
Get the help you need with your estate planning concerns
An experienced estate planning lawyer will ensure that all of your estate planning documents are legally suitable and will hold up in court if someone chooses to challenge them. Your lawyer will also advise you on strategies for how to help your family stay together and continue getting along after they have learned of your asset distribution strategy.