Creating an estate plan may help ensure that your needs are met both now and after you pass. If you fail to create a valid will, New York law must determine what happens to your assets after your death. Failing to create a valid trust, power of attorney or other documents may also make it harder to manage your affairs if you become temporarily or permanently incapacitated.
How to decide between a will and a trust
For many people, a will is enough to ensure that their assets will be distributed per their instructions after they pass. However, it is important to note that a will does not take effect until after you pass. If you become incapacitated during your lifetime, your assets may be managed by an outside party who is appointed by a judge. Creating a living trust may be ideal if you have a large net worth or multiple homes, or you simply want the peace of mind that comes with appointing your own trustee.
What do your beneficiaries want?
It’s important to note that your estate plan should reflect your wishes above anyone else’s. However, it is a good idea to consider your beneficiaries when creating an estate plan. For instance, if your kids don’t want the family home, it may be best to sell it and put the money in a trust. If your adult children need financial help today, it may be best to give them a gift before you pass.
Creating a comprehensive estate plan may prevent family infighting as well as make it easier to settle your affairs in a timely manner. Furthermore, it should maximize the odds that your plan is carried out in a manner that reflects your values.