Our Bronx Estate Attorney Offers Estate Planning Steps
If you are in the process of planning an estate, a Bronx and Westchester County Probate and Estate attorney may be able to help simplify the process. The first step to planning any estate is to make a Last Will and Testament. In a Will, you simply determine who you wish to inherit your property in the event of your death and name a guardian to care for any young children in your care. Wills can be more complex if necessary, but they are generally relatively simple documents.
Trusts and Directives
A living trust allows you to distribute your property without your survivors having to go through the arduous process of probate court. A Bronx estate attorney may be able to help you avoid this time-consuming process with a document that can easily be altered during your lifetime. Health care directives are also essential to the estate planning process as they protect you if you are ever unable to make medical decisions for yourself. From a health care declaration or living will to giving someone power of attorney for your healthcare, these important decisions should be made as early as possible for your peace of mind.
Financial Power of Attorney
While a medical power of attorney gives someone control over your care if you are unable to make medical decisions, a financial power of attorney does the same for your finances and property. If you become incapacitated, your financial power of attorney, often your Bronx estate attorney, will make financial decisions for your estate.
It is important to name an adult who can manage the property and financial resources you leave to your children. This may be your attorney or the guardian named in your will. You should also file beneficiary forms to make your retirement plans and bank accounts automatically payable on death to your beneficiaries. This allows them to avoid the probate process, which is not only time-consuming but expensive as well. You can also register stocks, bonds and other accounts in a similar way in most states.
Life insurance is not only about financially supporting your loved ones after your death but paying any debts that may remain in your estate, such as the estate tax. Life insurance policies also cover funeral expenses, making it possible to enact your end-of-life wishes without imposing a financial burden upon your survivors. Funeral repayment plans are often unreliable, but you can set up a payable-on-death account with your bank. Such accounts let your estate deposit funds to pay for your funeral and other related expensive. Prepayment offers greater peace of mind than other methods of funeral planning.
When it comes to estate taxes, it is important to understand that the vast majority of the population does not owe estate taxes. In fact, only those estates worth significantly more than $5 million are required to pay Federal estate taxes. Married couples can also transfer up to twice the exempt amount of assets tax-free, and any assets you leave to a spouse are exempt.
It is important to make your end-of-life wishes known when it comes to your burial or cremation preferences and whether you want to donate your organs. Organ and body donation should be decided upon in advance, if possible. Protect your business. If you are the sole proprietor of a business, you should name someone to take over in the event of your death. If you own a business with several others, you should create a buyout agreement to determine what will be done with your share of the business upon your passing. Partnership ownerships present a somewhat more complicated situation, but may still be determined during the estate planning process.
It is essential to properly store all relevant documents that your attorney or executor may need when executing your estate. Such documents include your Last Will and Testament, trusts, insurance policies, real estate deeds, certificates for bonds, stocks and annuities, bank account information, retirement plan information, credit cards, mortgages, loans, utilities, unpaid taxes and prepayment plans for your final arrangements.
Contact a Bronx Estate Attorney
Call Rogers & Rogers, Esq. today at (718) 994-1640 or email evan(at)rogersandrogersesq.com to work with a Bronx and Westchester estate attorney you can trust to manage your assets upon death.