When a person with a high-value estate in New York passes away, the surviving family members may find themselves at odds regarding how the estate should be handled. This is why estate planning is so critical. Through estate planning, people can create wills and also set up trusts to protect their assets and keep family relationships from becoming destroyed.
Wills explain how estates are to be distributed and who will receive certain assets from the estates upon the estate owners' deaths. If there is no will, then a judge will most likely make asset-related decisions according to state intestacy laws. However, there is an emotional component to dealing with the estate of a deceased loved one too. Even though one person may be considered an heir from a judge's standpoint, the estate owner may not have wanted this person to inherit his or her property.
Living trusts are valuable in that they completely avoid the process of probate. This saves cost and time, and it is also private. The probate process lasts between nine months and two years on average. In cases involving wills that are contested, it can last 10 years. The process of probate is in the public domain as well, so people who visit the courthouse can easily look up how valuable a deceased loved one's estate was and how it ended up being distributed, but this is not possible when a trust is used.
It is natural for people in New York not to want to create estate plans because it may seem morbid to do so. However, estate plans, which can include wills and trusts, ultimately protect people's assets in the events of their deaths. They will also protect the best interests of their surviving family members in the long run.
Source: The Huffington Post, "5 Ways To Plan Your Estate", Laiza King, July 11, 2016