According to statistics, 80 to 90 percent of businesses nationwide, including in New York, are owned by families. However, a significant percentage of those businesses are lost before making it to the third generation. This is said to happen because succession planning is often neglected when drafting wills and other estate planning documents.
Regardless of the size of their estates, New Yorkers of just about any age are encouraged to do estate planning. For various reasons, financial advisers suggest that individuals should start with establishing wills and consider additional options that can reduce probate fees. Depending on the value of the assets, state and federal estate taxes might apply, along with probate fees.
When it comes to estate planning and the documents included, state laws vary. For that reason, New York residents must comply with specific requirements when signing wills. If the required formalities and legalities are not followed, the court might disregard the validity of a will and subject the estate to intestacy laws. Having a valid will is important to ensure one's final wishes are met.
Anyone in New York who is in the throes of divorce might be so overwhelmed by all the matters that need consideration and the many decisions that need to be made, that some crucial issues might be forgotten. However, reviewing estate plans must not be overlooked. The laws related to wills and divorce differ from state to state, but even if a spouse is automatically removed after a divorce, what happens if death should occur in the time leading up to the final divorce settlement? The surviving spouse will have legal rights to the estate if this should happen.
Estate planning is an exercise that reminds many people in New York of their mortality. That causes many to procrastinate, deciding that wills and other estate planning measures can be put off for another day down the line. However, having an up-to-date estate plan can provide peace of mind, particularly since no one knows when an accident or other tragedy may disrupt their lives.
People in New York often question the need for estate planning, and many think it is only required for those with significant assets. However, establishing wills or trusts is the only way to ensure that assets are passed to chosen beneficiaries rather than those determined by the state. An estate plan can be will based or trust based.
Some people think estate planning is something to consider when they are older. However, they may not understand what will happen if they should die suddenly with no wills in place. The assets of any New York person who dies without a Last Will and Testament will be subject to the intestacy succession laws of the state.
In many ways, real life is entirely removed from what we see on TV and in the movies. For instance, the dramatized reading of wills in the movies is purely done to create drama because no law says a will must be read with all beneficiaries present. Upon the death of a New York resident, the estate attorney must determine whom to provide with copies of the will.
Estate planning is an essential part of every New York resident's financial future. Life is unpredictable, and unexpected deaths can leave chaos for the surviving family members of those without estate plans in place. Even those who have wills must review them from time to time.
Estate planning has changed significantly over the years. While creating joint wills was a common practice in years gone by, the practice is now discouraged. While New York State still allows joint wills, there are several reasons to explore other options with fewer disadvantages.