Estate Planning deals with organizing your assets and liabilities in order to distribute whatever remains to your desired beneficiaries. It is done so that you’re able to give what you want to whom you desire with the minimal amount of taxes, legal fees, and time involved.
Here are four steps involved when elder law attorneys assist elders in their estate planning:

Step 1: Analyzing family dynamics

In this step, family members are listed and the way they interact with each must be accounted for. Several questions are asked, for example:
  • Is the client married or divorced? Are they in their second marriage?
  • Does the client have any children? From previous or current marriages?
  • Do the family members get along with each other?
  • Who in the family works?
  • How would you like the estate to be divided?
These questions help in making guiding decisions for who would be responsible for legal, financial, or medical matters. It also helps to see if there will be potential for disputes, misunderstandings, or conflicts of interest.

Step 2: Evaluating current estate planning documents

Any  documents that the client already has must be reviewed. This can include previously drafted wills, health care proxies, power of attorney, living wills, or any other related documents. Your Probate or Estate Lawyer in Forest Hills need to be very meticulous regarding these documents. This is to check if they are legally valid and if there are any changes that need to be made to them.

Step 3: Organizing the client’s assets

It is necessary to compile and organize all the assets the client owns. This includes titles of properties, bank accounts, IRA’s and 401(k)’s, jewelry, priceless art, and collections. The value of these assets, how they are titled (sole or joint ownership), and if the investments are designated to a beneficiary, all need to be noted. With this information, a lawyer can determine ways to reduce or eliminate taxes as much as the law allows for.

Step 4: Developing the estate plan

With the desires of the client in mind, an attorney will assist in assigning people who will have roles in their estate plan. This includes assigning a person to make medical decisions for the client if they are unable to express it themselves, assigning those who will need to make legal decisions, and someone to take care of financial affairs through power of attorney in case the client lacks the capacity to do so. If a trust is used, trustees and an executor need to be designated. Distribution is assigned, potential conflicts prepared for, and the plan is put into place

Preparing an estate plan can be quite nerve-wracking for some elders. Some people delay it because they may see it as the end of their life and it’s something they avoid until it may be too late. It may be easier to think of estate planning as your desired intentions being written and carried out so that your loved ones needn’t go through unnecessary hardship after your death. If you want to make sure your retirement goes smoothly and is carried out efficiently, consult an elder law attorney as soon as you can.

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Attorney Advertising Disclaimer: The estate planning, probate, elder law or other New York legal information presented on this site should NOT be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Using the advice provided on this site without consulting an lawyer can have disastrous results. Prior results do not guarantee similar outcomes. Please contact a Queens estate planning attorney at one of our law firms located in New York City. This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the State of NY, although we have relationships with attorneys and law firms in states throughout the United States. Free consultation applies to an initial phone consultation.
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