Important first steps to consider when estate planning

Over the years, most New York residents accumulate numerous assets, and they often want to make sure that those assets get passed on to future generations. Commonly, people utilize estate planning in order to protect their assets and dictate how their property should be distributed after their deaths. Creating an estate plan can start simply and expand to include a variety of important documents.

One step that individuals may want to consider first is to create a letter of last instruction. This letter can provide information regarding where important documents and account information is kept. Parties can address locations of birth certificates, insurance policy information, titles, deeds, funeral instructions, wills, contact information for important people and a great deal of other information.

The next important step may include creating a will and/or a living trust. A will can include instructions on who should receive remaining assets and include other important information, like the names of executors and guardians. A living trust can help protect assets because trusts do not have to go through probate proceedings, and they reduce the value of the estate, which may then lessen estate taxes.

Of course, any estate planning documents need to be legally binding. Taking the time to review planning options and the necessary steps for creating them can prove beneficial. Additionally, interested New York residents can enlist the help of knowledgeable attorneys who can explain how certain documents work and how they may apply to specific scenarios. Legal professionals can also ensure that documents are drawn up in accordance with applicable laws.

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