With spring around the corner, people usually are thinking of warm weather and growing plants — things that remind them of the renewal of life. Death is the last thing people typically want to ponder at this time of year, or really any time of the year in New York. However, failure to engage in estate planning means that a person will not be able to dictate how his or her assets are passed down in the future when he or she dies.
Recent statistics show that only 35 percent to 45 percent of people in America have wills. A person who doesn’t have a will essentially is requiring surviving family members to deal with unanswered questions after he or she passes away, which can be frustrating and costly at a time when they would rather be concentrating on grieving. The state will ultimately determine how one’s assets are divided in this situation, and one’s own desires with regard to the needs of his or her loved ones will essentially be irrelevant.
To start planning, a person can make a list of all of his or her valuable items, insurance policies, retirement accounts and other assets. Write down who should get certain assets and who can be guardians for one’s minor children. It also is wise for an individual to designate someone to handle his or her financial matters in the event that he or she becomes incapacitated.
Although developing a will typically isn’t most people’s idea of fun, it allows one to control what happens to his or her assets posthumously, in addition to allowing beneficiaries to easily access the assets that are rightfully t heirs . Estate planning can be complicated. Nonetheless, understanding the law will help a person to choose the best vehicle for his or her family’s needs in New York.
Source: money.cnn.com,10 steps to painless estate planning, Martha White, March 3, 2014