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Estate plans featuring wills, trusts provide many benefits

Some New Yorkers avoid estate planning simply due to lack of time, while others simply don't understand its importance. Estate planning, including drafting wills and creating trusts, is a process that involves determining how people would like their assets to be transferred upon their deaths. With an estate plan, a person can formally select who will receive his or her assets, what they will receive and when they will receive them. Estate planning offers several benefits.

One of the biggest benefits of having an estate plan is that the plan can enable one's assets to be distributed based on one's wishes rather than based on state law. It's also possible to identify loved ones to make important decisions if an individual should become incapacitated. These decisions can include both financial decisions and medical ones.

Yet another potential advantage of estate planning is that it allows people to keep their identities private by avoiding probate court. If a person does not have a will or trust, his or her assets will be distributed through the probate court according to the state's law of intestacy. This process is time consuming and expensive, and records from probate court are public, so anyone can read them.

With wills and other estate planning documents, people in New York can rest assured that after they pass away, their assets will end up in the intended hands within the law's framework. With careful estate planning, taxes can be minimized as well as administrative expenses and legal fees. Experienced legal guidance can help to produce estate plans that work the best for one's individual goals and family circumstances.

Source: grbj.com, "Estate planning 101", Steven Struck, May 31, 2016

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