You may feel as though estate planning is all about the facilitation of asset transfers. This is certainly at the core of the endeavor, and it is the first step when you are trying to make sure that you fulfill your most basic responsibilities.
At the same time, as the years pass and you start to think about your legacy in earnest, you may start to empathize with your loved ones. They will be going through a difficult time immediately after your passing, and you can ease the procedural burden when you plan your estate.
There are different ways to put some someone to rest, and many people will follow religious and family traditions. This can include a viewing, a wake, a funeral, and/or a memorial service.
Some psychologists feel as though the step-by-step approach is beneficial during the grieving process, but this is a personal matter, and there is no right or wrong way to go about it.
If you do not make a plan or leave any instructions, your family members will be forced to make the final arrangements, and there will be decision-making involved. Everyone in the family may not be on the same page with regard to the right way to proceed.
This can create tension and acrimony during a time when family members should be coming together to support one another.
Letter of Last Instructions
letter-of-last-instruction.pdf (uidaho.edu)In this letter, you can address your estate administrator with regard to the way you want your final affairs to be handled.
When your true wishes have been stated in writing, the administrator will follow your instructions dispassionately. Everyone in the family will know that you made the decisions in advance, so there will be no cause for disagreements. Additionally, New York allows you to confer legal authority someone of your choosing to make your final arrangements, if you have not done so yourself, by executing a document called Assignment of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains.
While we are on this subject, we should expand upon the information that should be contained in the letter of last instructions. This is a communication between you and the administrator, so you ask yourself what they will need to know to do the job and act accordingly.
For example, you should provide the location of keys to property and storage units along with all the relevant hardcopy documents. If you conduct business online, you should confidentially list the accounts and share the login information.
With regard to this sensitive data, you should not record it in your will if you are using a simple will as an asset transfer vehicle. A will is admitted to probate, and the general public can access the records to get all the details.
Beware of Prepaid Burial Plans
There are many companies out there that sell prepaid burial plans, and some of them are perfectly legitimate.
However, there have been scams in this area over the years, and overcharging is not uncommon. You should do your research and be discerning if you go in this direction.
Of course, if you and your family have developed a relationship with a reputable local funeral home, you may feel comfortable making an advance arrangement with them.
Attend a Free Webinar!
We are conducting a series of webinars over the coming weeks, and you can learn a lot if you join us for one of these sessions. There is no charge, and they couldn’t be any more convenient, so you should definitely take advantage of one of these opportunities.
You can see the dates if you visit our webinar page, and when you identify the session that works for you, follow the simple instructions to reserve your spot.
Need Help Now?
If you already know that you should work with a Rochester, New York estate planning attorney to develop a plan, now is the time for action. You can send us a message to request a consultation appointment, and we can be reached by phone at (585) 374-5210.