Are you worried about what happens to your family when you pass away? What are you worried about:
Do you have someone in your family who would need help with handling financial matters?
Who would have access to your electronic records?
Do you even have a coherent list of accounts and passwords?
Who do you want to handle your financial affairs after you pass away?
If your spouse remarries, would you want your spouse’s future spouse to get your money and disinherit your children?
Do you want your child to get his or her share all at once?
Is your child under the age of 18?
Does your child have medical or personal issues that would eat up your money taking care of the Child?
Maybe your child just to needs grow up some more before receiving a sizable inheritance.
Would you want your child’s spouse to get the benefit of your hard work and disinherit your grandchildren, especially if your child should get divorced?
Maybe you have relatives who you just don’t want to receive anything?
By planning your estate, you allow for the orderly transfer of your assets to your selected heirs, the appointment of fiduciaries to oversee your assets, and, more importantly, your minor children or grandchildren. An effective estate plan not only provides documentation about your wishes, but assists you with the after passing immediate needs.
Questions that you need to answer are who you want to handle the immediate needs of your remains, from an informal burial to a full-scale funeral service. Maybe you want to donate your body to science, or want it buried next to your spouse. If you don’t make your plans known, who will carry them out? Do you want someone from the local government to decide where and how you will be buried.
Powers While You Are Alive
Who would you want to make medical or financial decisions for you if you are incapacitated? Certainly, you would not want some governmental or hospital bureaucrat to decide? Look at what happened to Terri Schiavo. Would you want to be kept alive in a completely vegetable state, simply because you never made your wishes known? What about managing your assets while you are unable to? How would you like to be brought to Court so the Court can decide who manages you, both your person and your financials? Setting up a Living Will, Health Care Proxy and Power of Attorney will go a long way to keep your personal and financial information private. Without an estate plan, your estate passes under New York State’s laws and you may not like the results.
What Happens to Your Business?
What happens to your business if you are not here to run it? Does it just close up and every thing you worked for just disappears? Who can you rely on to take over, a key employee, family member? Are you doing anything to make sure that person remains running your business? Business succession planning is a major part of your estate plan, especially when you have people relying on jobs that could just disappear with your disability or death.
Giving to Charity
Do you have a favorite charity you want to support after you are gone? If you have significant wealth, this may be an avenue to reduce the possible estate tax your estate may have to pay. Would you want to give income from a significant asset to be paid to the charity, then after a number of years the asset is returned to your estate so you can partially reduce the estate tax liability?
With the new tax laws, planning for retirement accounts just became more complicated. If you leave a retirement account to anyone other than a spouse, that account must be closed within 10 years and taxes paid on the proceeds when withdrawn. No longer can you stretch the distributions over the life of some distant young beneficiary to avoid paying taxes. Under the new law, the beneficiary does not have to withdraw required minimum payments during that 10 year period, but come the end of those 10 years, the beneficiary can face a large loss of value due to the taxes and the tax bracket they are in. Now is the time to establish a plan to take advantage of different tax brackets and asset protection of a retirement account.
Contact the Rothenberg Law Offices, PLLC
If you have concerns with who will get and handle your money, now is the time to contact a law firm to explain and help you handle the process of planning your estate. At the Rothenberg Law Offices, we have over thirty years of experience helping families establish an estate plan to provide for their loved ones. We will explain the types of documents which applies to your planning needs. With proper planning we can show you how to avoid probate or administration and making your last wishes public. Call for a free 30-minute consultation to discuss how we can help you determine the best estate plan for your situation.