Drafting an estate plan is not always a pleasant prospect, but it is necessary for ensuring your family is cared for after your death. Understanding what goes into an effective plan may make the task less daunting.
An estate plan expresses your wishes regarding who inherits your property and assets. However, there are other elements you should consider incorporating in a comprehensive plan.
Will and trust documents
The most notable documents in an estate plan include the will and any trusts. The former is what gives directives on how to disburse property to heirs. A will in New York goes through probate court if the estate’s value is greater than $50,000 or includes real property. Trusts, on the other hand, do not go through the probate process. They are fiduciary tools that allow you to pass property directly to beneficiaries of the trust. Even if your estate does not meet the threshold for probate, you may want to consider adding trusts to your estate plan to allow heirs to inherit quicker.
Estate plans also include documents that deal with your end-of-life decisions. Living wills or advanced directives and power of attorney designations help direct your family when you can no longer make your own decisions. Power of attorney documents designate the person or persons you want to handle your financial and medical decisions. Advanced directives set forth your wishes concerning life-saving measures when the outcome is not positive.
An effective estate plan eases the burden on your loved ones at the end of your life and after your death. Consider creating it early and revising it as life events dictate.