Things You Didn’t Know About Estate Planning – But Should

Long Island Estate Planning Lawyers - Lamkin Elder LawMost Americans are aware they should complete an estate plan, but little have done so. An estate plan does not only distribute assets, but it can also protect an individual and their loved ones from creditors, conflict, and much more. Unfortunately, the biggest reason for a lack of pre-planning comes down to information – or the lack thereof. Consumers are often giving into misconceptions about estate plans, and these misconceptions can cost American households thousands of dollars later on.

What Consumers Should Know About Estate Planning

From making important decisions to addressing formalities, there is plenty you should know about creating and maintaining an estate plan.

  1. An estate plan is not reserved for the wealthy. The number one reason Americans do not create an estate plan is because they assume you need excess wealth to have one. In reality, even middle- to low-class citizens could benefit from a well-drafted estate plan. Even those with no assets, but with children, can name a guardian for their minor children if they pass. On the other hand, without an estate plan, a judge will determine the guardian for minor children, which may not be a guardian you would have selected voluntarily.
  2. Estate plans have strict formalities. Despite being in the electronic age, there are formalities with an estate plan. While it may be seen as an antiquated law, wills must be signed in the presence of witnesses. This is not because the law it out of date; instead, it is to protect yourself and your beneficiaries, ensuring that your will is valid and you did not make your decisions under duress.
  3. Estate plans cover all valuable property. Whether you have a retirement account from employment, a coin collection, or a family home, your estate plan can dictate how each asset you own is distributed after your death.
  4. A properly drafted estate plan can avoid probate. Probate court, which involves taxes, fees, and legal costs, can be avoided with a living trust. While a trust does not guarantee an estate will avoid probate, if the trust has all assets titled in your name you can save your heirs the costs and lengthy delays associated with probate court.
  5. Omissions can cause legal issues. Self-drafted estate plans usually lack the complexity required to cover your estate, including any unique aspects of it. A simple omission or use of confusing language can result in an unfavorable outcome. This is why it is imperative your estate plan is drafted by an attorney who understands New York estate laws, giving them the ability to draft a will that addresses your estate’s unique characteristics.

The Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. – Estate Planning Attorney

Estate plans should always be customized to the unique aspects of the individual. Attorney Andrew M. Lamkin can help you understand your estate planning options and draft a plan that addresses your concerns after you have passed. Schedule a consultation online or call 516-605-0625 to learn more

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