Putnam County Estate Planning Lawyer
No one wants to think about death, yet proper estate planning is absolutely vital for protecting your loved ones and your assets. Estate planning can also help you. At Meyer & Spencer, our Putnam County estate planning lawyers believe in taking some of the mystery out of estate planning and are happy to discuss your options with you.
Why You Need an Estate Plan
Everyone leaves behind assets and debts at death. The assets might be something as small as your old car or as large as a home and retirement benefits. Debts can be as minor as a monthly cell phone bill or as large as a mortgage on your primary residence. Someone will need to administer your estate by paying off your bills and distributing your remaining assets.
Estate planning is the process of taking control of how your estate will be administered when you are gone. Without a plan, your assets will be distributed according to New York’s “intestacy” rules, which might end up giving your property to distant relatives. With a proper estate plan, you determine who will receive property.
Proper estate planning also protects you in the event of incapacity by naming people to make financial and medical decisions for you, thus affording you peace of mind.
Estate Planning Considerations
Estate planning is quite complex. Some people wrongly believe that they can create an estate plan by filling out an online will template in five minutes. Instead, you will need to consider the following:
- Who do you want to administer your estate? This person will serve as executor.
- Do you have tax concerns, especially if your estate is large?
- Who do you want to take care of minor children in the event you and your spouse die?
- Who do you want to inherit property if your first choice dies?
- What medical treatment do you want if you become incapacitated? Is there any treatment you do not want?
- Who do you want to take care of your pets when you die?
Parts of a Proper Estate Plan
No two estate plans are exactly alike, and we don’t use “one size fits all” approaches. However, many estate plans have common parts, such as:
- In this document, you can identify your executor, name guardians of minor children, and leave assets to people.
- A trust is like a will, except a trustee administers it. Trusts also do not need to go through probate in court.
- Special needs trust. If you have a disabled loved one, then this trust can help protect their eligibility for government benefits.
- Pet trust. This document can help you give detailed directions for how you want your pets taken care of.
- Advance directives. With a living will, you can state what medical care you want and don’t want in the event you become incapacitated. With a power of attorney, you can name an agent to make these decisions if your living will is not clear.
As you age, many parts of your estate plan might need to be updated or revoked entirely, so it is best to revisit your plan regularly as your needs change.
Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer in Putnam County
It is never too soon to create an estate plan. At Meyer & Spencer, we provide individualized personal attention so that you get the estate plan that works for you. For more information about how we can help, please call us at 845-628-0009. We serve clients through Putnam County, including Mahopac.