We proudly serve people that reside in all parts of Yates County, New York. Everyone at our firm is motivated by a sincere desire to help our neighbors craft meaningful legacies. When you work with us, you will receive friendly, communicative assistance every step of the way. Clearly, you have to discuss sensitive family and financial matters when you consult with an estate planning attorney, and we take this to heart. You can rest assured that you will feel totally comfortable as soon as you walk through our doors.
Yates County Estate Planning
Every responsible adult should have an estate plan in place, even if you are relatively young. In fact, it could be argued that estate planning is more important for younger adults than it is for their older counterparts. After all, people in their 60s and older typically have adult children that are capable of handling their own affairs. Things are entirely different when you have dependent youngsters under your roof.
An asset transfer vehicle will be at the core of any estate plan. A simple last will can be sufficient for some people, but most individuals would find a living trust to be more beneficial. There are many reasons why a living trust can be a better choice, and one of them is the avoidance of probate. This is a costly and time-consuming legal process that would be necessary if you use a will.
With a living trust, the trustee that you name in the document would be able to distribute assets to the beneficiaries outside of probate. In addition to the probate avoidance benefit, there are a number of others. When a typical simple last will is used, you would be allowing for lump-sum distributions to the inheritors. This can be perfectly acceptable for some family members that are good at handling money, but you may have concerns about a spendthrift on your inheritance list.
Under these circumstances, you have options when you have a revocable living trust in place. To provide a hypothetical example, let’s say that you have income earning assets in the trust. You could instruct the trustee to calculate the annual yield and distribute it incrementally each month.
If you choose to do so, you could give the trustee the latitude to make additional distributions on a discretionary basis. You could instruct the trustee to start to distribute portions of the principal when the beneficiary reaches certain age thresholds.
There are other estate planning tools that can be used. A special needs trust can be established to set aside resources to make a loved one more comfortable without impacting government benefits like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income. People that are exposed to the estate tax can use irrevocable trusts to gain estate tax efficiency.
In addition to the asset transfer facet, there is another element to take into consideration when you are planning your estate. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, approximately 40 percent of people that are 85 years of age and older have contracted the disease. If you are fortunate enough to celebrate your 67th birthday, your life expectancy is at least 85 years.
People that are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease reach the point where they cannot make sound decisions on their own, and there are other causes of incapacity. If you do nothing to account for this possibility, the state can be petitioned to appoint a guardian to act on your behalf. This is a necessary function, but most people would prefer to choose their own decision-makers in advance if they could.
In fact, this is quite possible. Your estate plan should include durable powers of attorney. The “durable” designation is important, because a standard power of attorney would no longer be in effect if the grantor of the device was to become incapacitated.
You can create a Health Care Proxy for health care to empower a medical decision maker along with a durable financial power of attorney. A living will should be added as well to state your preferences with regard to the utilization of life-sustaining measures if you were to fall into a terminal condition.
We Are Here to Help!
Our doors are open if you would like to discuss your legacy goals with a licensed Yates County estate planning attorney. You can send us a message to request a consultation appointment, and we can be reached by phone at (585) 546-1734.