Let’s face it, nobody wants to die. But as we can’t help it despite our best intentions, it is better to arrange your affairs while you still can. Some people believe estate planning is only the headache of the rich, but everybody needs to clear up his last wishes no matter how much is the length of their asset’ list. It is widely thought that estate planning involves a will, power of attorney, or trust leading to the above-mentioned belief. But estate planning also includes critical information like medical history, financial information et cetera. In order to create a successful estate plan, one has to be familiar with the elder law of the state for elder law NY City may be different from California or anywhere else.
The phenomenon of estate planning is rather complex and it is best to do it carefully as carelessly undertaken estate planning only leads to confusion and lengthy court proceedings causing trouble to the grieved loved ones. It is crucial that you follow the below-mentioned steps to avoid any loopholes.
Compile a List of your Wishes
The first thing you have to do is make a list of what you own, what you are owed, and what you owe. Your assets and possessions must be listed. Choose the person with whom you would transfer your power of attorney. Indicate what to do with you in case you lose your ability to communicate. Funeral arrangements are also to be listed.
Choose a Qualified Attorney
Be careful in your choice of an attorney to handle your estate planning. Anyone is prone to making mistakes and leaving loopholes but it is the duty of the attorney to be able to make the plan foolproof. In addition, a qualified attorney will guide you through the complex developing phase and will advise on important matters in the light of the estate law.
Communicate with Your Loved Ones
Communication gap and an element of surprise is often the biggest factor in creating friction during the transition phase. It is better to educate them yourself so that they may not take it as a shock and will have time to cope with it. Moreover, this gives one a chance to help them make future decisions.
Don’t forget Federal/State Estate Taxes
You have to plan ahead for any kind of taxes applicable to your estate either federal or state’. Inheritance taxes are often payable within 9 months of death. So, plan for them as the heir may not have enough resources to cover the taxes.
Will or Trust?
Both will and trust have their pros and cons. You have to choose one which best suits your needs. Some attorneys prefer a living trust instead of a will to their clients as it gives the benefit of appointing a trustee who can handle your assets as per your wishes. However, it is advisable to seek professional guidance on both ways before finalizing your decision.