Estate planning in New York is essential if you own properties and investments or have minor children. With an estate plan, you can determine how your assets should be distributed after you pass away. Creating one will also clarify medical directives and power of attorney designation.
Gather a list of your assets and accounts
The first step of estate planning is to create an inventory of your assets, accounts and documents. You’ll need amounts and contact information from the following:
- Bank accounts
- Insurance policies
- Investment accounts
- Automobile titles
After you’ve made your list, store it in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box and let an executor or family member know how to access it.
Power of attorney designation
Designating a power of attorney should also be done, allowing someone you trust to make legal and financial decisions if you become incapacitated. Using a durable medical power of attorney is also recommended as it will enable the individual you name to make medical decisions on your behalf when you can’t.
Create a will
Creating a will is another essential step of the estate planning process. It states how your estate will be distributed after you die. Specifying the beneficiaries who should receive your assets, such as property and money, ensures your wishes are met. You can also use a will to decide who will care for any minor children you may have after you pass away.
Create funeral or memorial instructions
Writing funeral or memorial instructions can also be completed when estate planning. Doing so clarifies if you want to be cremated or buried.
Starting the estate planning process as soon as possible is essential if you want your wishes met. Otherwise, the court system may make decisions you would disagree with.