by Roseanne J. Moran, Esq.
As we age, estate planning can be confusing and intimidating and may be keeping you up at night. Wills, powers of attorney, health care proxies, and other aspects of estate planning are things you typically don’t typically address until you’re confronted with them. That’s okay – life can be busy and complicated enough. So the first step is to have a game plan to get these items taken care of so that you can sleep better at night without worry.
In general terms, estate planning is about how you decide your future personal health, distribution of property, and the fate of any children you have that are dependent upon you before or after your death. The goal is to have plans in place that are in keeping with your wishes. Unfortunately, if you do nothing, it is likely that a court will need to be consulted to determine the outcome. Estate planning is also about properly planning for your future in case of an unexpected physical injury, sudden illness, or mental incapacity before your death.
An attorney experienced in estate planning can help you prepare a simple to complex estate plan for a reasonable cost. Many people procrastinate because the decision to name a guardian for children may be difficult or create disagreements with your spouse. However, wouldn’t you rather have something in place instead of having a judge make that decision for you? Wouldn’t a plan in place be better than having family members on both sides argue over who will raise your children?
Another reason to have a plan is to eliminate the need for a probate proceeding. This is when the court must supervise the distribution of your assets under your Last Will & Testament, or establish a guardianship proceeding in the event you are incapacitated or otherwise unable to communicate your intentions. Planning has its advantages potentially saving significant future legal fees and costs, not to mention stress for you and your family. A solid estate plan could also reduce federal and state estate taxes your family or loved ones might owe after your death.
Estate Planning is a complicated business, especially in New York State. There have been recent changes in state and federal tax exclusion amounts, so it’s good to check how you may be affected. Otherwise, there may be a significant tax impact on your family after your death, if you fail to prepare properly. There are also many misconceptions and myths about estate planning, estate taxes and the laws that govern them. The guidance and knowledge of a lawyer who is skilled estate planning can help you determine precisely what could happen to your assets.
Estate planning is a necessary hurdle in life, and the best way forward is to craft a solid plan together with a legal expert. The process can be easy and straightforward and can put your mind at ease.
About the author:
Roseanne J. Moran, Esq. is an attorney who focuses on estate planning, wills, health care proxies and powers of attorney, real estate law, corporate and business law, budget counseling for couples or individuals. Roseanne is located at 4476 Main Street, Suite 120, Amherst, NY 14226. To schedule an appointment call 716-832-0978 or email her at Roseanne66law@gmail.com. Evenings and weekends are available.