How Estate Planning Protects Families
Fans of television star Luke Perry were saddened to hear of his passing last March. Although his death from a stroke at age 52 was traumatic for his family, he had the foresight to plan for his final wishes. Perry had a sizable estate, which Forbes reported to be at around $10 million, an ex-wife, a fiancé, and two children.
After five days and a second stroke, Perry’s family took him off life support since there was no chance of recovery. This indicates that he most likely had a power of attorney or an advance directive. The details are not all public, but sources said that his 2015 will left everything to his children. Since he had not remarried at the time of his death, it is unlikely that anything will go to his fiancé.
A Wake-Up Call
Perry died young and from an uncommon cause, and this unfortunate reality can be a wake-up call for individuals who have not started, completed, or updated their estate plan. Not only does this shield your family from having to make decisions such as when to terminate life support, it can keep them out of probate court and prevent family feuds.
Major life events like divorces, second marriages, and having children are all occasions to update these documents. Every estate is different, but there are some categories that pertain to most, whether the estate is valued at $10 thousand or $10 million. The most common components include a will, an advance directive (including a living will), and a trust.
The two main goals of a will are to transfer assets quickly and to avoid taxes for the beneficiaries. Generally, a proper will should include everything in the estate, and which family members or others will inherit the proceeds. The person who makes the will (the testator) must be of sound mind when it is written; it must be signed and notarized or witnessed. The testator must appoint an executor to carry out the will, and a guardian if there are minor dependent children. In New York, the testator must also be 18 years of age.
Advance directives specify how an individual wants their medical treatment managed if they are not able to make the decisions for themselves. It can give power of attorney to someone who can withhold certain treatments or advocate for other ones, depending on how the documents are written. Leaving clear instructions for this medical care can be very helpful for family members.
Trusts are set up to manage how the testator’s assets are distributed, including any monetary obligations like debt. They are administered by chosen trustees, who may be compensated for their responsibilities. Common types of trusts include living trusts, irrevocable trusts, and testamentary trusts.
Brooklyn Elder Law Attorneys at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP Handle All Your Estate Planning Needs
The State of New York has specific estate planning laws, and a knowledgeable Brooklyn elder law attorney from Korsinsky & Klein, LLP can help you design the best plan for your needs. Call 212-495-8133 today for information or use our online contact form. With offices in Brooklyn, New York, and Lakewood, New Jersey, we assist clients in Manhattan, Long Island, and Westchester, New York.