Wills Versus Estate Plans
Many people may not understand how wills and estates differ. Wills are part of estate plans that help individuals plan for their future. Individuals have varying ideas as to where their assets should go when their time comes, and understanding the components that go into estate plans can accomplish this.
The Basics of Creating a Will
A will is a legal document that states the final wishes of its owner. Once the owner is deceased, the will is read in court. The court ensures that these wishes get carried out, that debts are paid, and property is distributed. This process is referred to as probate. To get started, the owner or testator must understand the extent of their assets, which includes savings, investments, real estate, and other belongings. Beneficiaries must be named, and they should be of sound mind with the capacity to assume ownership to manage assets. Finally, the will must be signed by the owner and two witnesses. Notarization is not required, but doing so makes things easier in the long run.
Executors, Guardians, and Living Wills
The will’s testator usually chooses an executor to be responsible for gathering and managing the assets and settling debts, including taxes. If there are dependent children, a guardian should also be named if there is no other living parent. Most people are asked if they have a living will when they are admitted to a hospital, therefore, setting one up is a good idea. It explains the type of care that the testator will want if they become unable to make their own health care decisions.
The Basics of Estate Planning
A will is only part of an estate plan; a well thought out estate plan covers many other topics. It can ensure that the owner’s final wishes are carried out if the owner becomes incapacitated and is unable to do so. A living trust can be advantageous in estate planning, because anything placed in this trust will not have to go through probate. A trustee should be designated to handle the trust, and they can transfer the ownership to the named beneficiaries. Other estate planning categories include choosing people to manage the affairs, tax considerations, and expenses.
Power of attorney (POA) is a person who has the authority to act for another regarding their financial and legal matters. There are several types of POA. Financial POA allows a person to manage the owner’s finances if they are unable to do so. Like all chosen POAs, this person should be trustworthy and knowledgeable about what they are signing on for. A health care POA gives someone authority to make medical decisions, which can include following the information outlined in the living will. If there are minor children involved, an adult should be chosen to oversee any monies or other assets they inherit.
Brooklyn Elder Law Attorneys at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP Provide Professional Estate Planning Services
Preparing a will and your estate should not be stressful, and we can help get your affairs in order. If you have questions or concerns regarding estate planning, contact the Brooklyn elder law attorneys at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP at 212-495-8133 or contact us online for more information. With offices in Brooklyn, New York, and Lakewood, New Jersey, we represent clients in Manhattan, Long Island, and Westchester, New York.