A common misconception among aging New York residents is that estate plans are only for the wealthy. In fact, every family can benefit from basic estate planning for a number of reasons, and the older an individual gets, the more important it becomes to act quickly. While planning for what will happen after an individual passes away may not be pleasant to think about or discuss, delaying estate planning until it’s too late is far worse for surviving family members.

First and foremost, many married individuals will want to ensure that the surviving spouse is financially protected. However, even those who are divorced or whose spouse has since passed away may wish to preserve and protect an inheritance for children and grandchildren. This is especially true in cases involving minor children or those with disabilities, but also for adult children from previous marriages.

A large part of estate planning is, of course, providing for beneficiaries after an individual’s death. There are ways to establish different types of trusts for asset management and protection from creditors. Estate planning can also involve proper beneficiary designation for life insurance policies, retirement plans and IRAs, annuities and more.

However, there are benefits to estate planning even for individuals without children, such as minimizing income taxes. For individuals with charitable donation preferences, it’s also a way to help insure their wishes are perpetuated even after death. There’s almost no end to the myriad of ways in which individuals and their families can benefit from the sound advice of a New York estate planning lawyer. An experienced attorney will have the legal know-how to help each individual find the planning methods best suited this or her unique circumstances.

Source: pilotonline.com, “Make estate planning a priority this year“, John T. Midgett, Jan. 17, 2018