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Quality estate plan includes creating wills, other documents

Creating an estate plan may be high on many individuals' New Year's resolution lists this month. However, the process of creating wills and other estate planning documents may seem confusing, thus preventing many from starting. A few tips might help with navigating the estate planning process in New York.

First, selecting an executor is an important part of planning an estate. Friends and family members do not necessarily have to serve as executors. Instead, attorneys and banks can help to carry out an estate owner's wishes in the event of his or her death.

Creating livings wills is also a wise move, as these documents explain what should happen to individuals who have become incapacitated. Likewise, choosing health care proxies is an important part of estate planning because these individuals make health care decisions that are not covered in patients' living wills. Another essential estate planning step is to make sure that life insurance policies and 401(k) plans feature the right beneficiaries. These assets are not included in wills, so naming appropriate beneficiaries for them is paramount to ensure that these assets go to the right people. Those who do not have close loved ones to give this money to may instead choose to give it to charities.

Failing to create wills can be a costly mistake for asset owners in New York. Without wills and other estate plan documents, assets intended for certain beneficiaries may end up in unintended hands -- such as those of hardly known relatives or even the state's. Fortunately, an attorney can provide the guidance necessary to create a well-thought-out estate plan that meets one's wishes as well as those of one's loved ones long term.

Source: greenbaypressgazette.com, "Intimidated by estate planning? Here are key first steps", Andrew Farah, Jan. 17, 2018

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