If you’ve put off estate planning, you’re not alone. Life gets busy, and other matters grab our attention. You mean to contact an attorney to get your affairs in order, but you keep putting it off.
Or perhaps you wonder, “Do you need an attorney for estate planning if you don’t have many assets?” Wills and powers of attorney are not only for the affluent. Learn how everyone can benefit from proper estate planning.
Why Do I Need an Estate Planning Attorney?
- Some Wills Aren’t Legally Enforceable
Creating a will is one thing, but ensuring that the document is legally enforceable is another.
New York has several requirements about what constitutes a legal will and how long certain types of wills are enforceable. Your heirs won’t be able to fulfill your final wishes if your will doesn’t hold up in court.
- Temporary Incapacitation Is More Common Than You Think
When you hear “incapacitation,” you may think of an irreversible brain injury or permanent debilitating condition. However, incapacitation can also be temporary. Many people will recover from a severe injury or illness. But there may be weeks or even months where you would be incapable of paying your bills and making decisions. Your designated power of attorney would handle your finances and other matters until you are well again.
- You May Have More Choices Than You Realize
New York’s estate planning laws are complex. For example, some methods of transferring assets may result in heavy taxation for your heirs. An estate planning lawyer can educate you on all of your options.
When Should I Hire an Estate Planning Lawyer?
Estate planning is not a one-time event. You should review your will and other estate planning documents once a year. In addition, these major life changes affect your will and other aspects of your estate.
- Marriage, Divorce, or Legal Separation
A marriage, divorce, or legal separation can affect your choice of heirs and powers of attorney. Delaying necessary changes can create a messy and drawn-out situation down the road.
You should also review your estate planning if any individuals involved in your estate become married, divorced, or legally separated, including heirs and powers of attorney.
- Birth of a Child or Grandchild
Unintentionally excluding an heir from your estate can create hard feelings. Your family will be left to wonder what your true intentions were.
- An Heir’s Death
You’ll need to update your will if any of your heirs die before you do. Any assets you leave to them must be distributed to another person or entity of your choosing.
How to Choose an Estate Planning Attorney
You should feel comfortable with the attorney you choose to handle your estate planning. Ideally, you will check in with them at least once a year to review your paperwork. Your estate planning attorney is someone you will do business with over time.
Many terms used in estate planning are unfamiliar to the general public. Your attorney should be able to discuss matters in a way you understand. You should feel comfortable asking them questions.
Need Help with Estate Planning? Call Norman Mattar
Don’t let your estate planning fall to the wayside. Getting your will and other documentation in order can give you peace of mind. Proper estate planning reflects your wishes and priorities when you pass away or become incapacitated.