In New York, "estate planning" broadly refers to the process through which someone determines what is to be done with their assets after death.
The first step in any estate plan is to figure out what you truly want to be done with your assets after your death. This is a very personal decision, and you should discuss it with your family, and others who might have a direct interest in your decisions. As for truly implementing your goals, you should probably speak with a legal and/or financial professional to figure out the best way to accomplish these intentions.
In addition to decisions regarding the disposition of your property, you should decide how you want to spend your final days. For instance, many people have a strong preference about whether and to what extent they'd like to be kept alive by artificial means. Whatever your opinion on this matter is, you should make it clear to the people who will be positioned to make such arrangements for you, if you are unable.
A knowledgeable estate planner in New York may also help you maximize the percentage of your assets that go to your chosen beneficiaries, by minimizing the impact of taxes and court fees. Moreover, preventing a will or other estate plan from being litigated in court will save your survivors an incalculable amount of time, money, and energy - and the better an estate plan is, the lower its chances of ending up in court.
Common Elements of Estates in New York
Estate plans in New York almost always have these elements:
Will: A will is a written instrument stating what you want to be done with your assets after you die. There are many issues that can come up in the drafting of a will. Nonetheless, because the will doesn't have any legal or practical effect until after the person who made it died, they can't exactly correct these problems when they become apparent. Thus, quality drafting, usually with the assistance of a reliable attorney, is essential.
Power of Attorney: This is a legal document in which you give some other person (typically a family member) the ability to make decisions (often related to money or healthcare) on your behalf if you become incapable of doing so.
Funeral Arrangements: The judgment of what should be done with your body after you die is a very personal one. If you have a preference on this, for religious, or other, reasons, you should discuss this with a family member in advance. You should additionally put your wishes in writing, but you should not put it ONLY in a will; wills aren't always read immediately after the person who wrote it died. Sometimes, weeks, or even months, go by before the will is read. Obviously, by then it will almost definitely be too late to implement your wishes.
Do I Need a New York Estate Planning Attorney?
These decisions are typically considered extremely significant. For that reason, you will likely find that the cost of hiring a New York attorney to be well worth its cost.
Interesting Facts About New York
New York is situated in the Northeastern region of the U.S. Nicknamed "The Empire State", New York was historically considered the "gateway" into the United States. New York life captures much of the classic American dream, as the state is often equated with opportunity and success. New York has the third highest population of all U.S. states.
New York's court system is officially named The New York State Unified Court Systems. For some people, navigating New York's court system can be challenging- New York uses different terminology in naming their courts as compared to other states. For example, New York's trial courts are called "Supreme Courts" instead of Superior Courts. Also, the highest court is the Court of Appeals, whereas in other states the highest court is usually named the Supreme Court of the State.
In addition, New York maintains a number of "problem-solving" courts. These offer additional measures for cases involving drugs, mental health issues, and repeat offenses. Such programs reflect New York's role as an innovator in the fields of jurisprudence and lawmaking. New York has produced a number of U.S. Supreme Court Justices, including Benjamin N. Cardozo, Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia, and Chief Justice John Roberts.
New York's body of laws is one of the most complex in the U.S. Thus, lawyers in New York state are required to pass one of the most difficult bar exams in the country. New York lawyers offer legal expertise in all kinds of legal topics.