A Beginner’s Guide to Estate Planning

Regardless of whether you have a bank account with millions of dollars hidden away or just a little money saved, you have an estate. Everything you own—your house, your car, investments, life insurance and possessions—is part of that estate, and chances are, you’d like to have an arrangement where your assets will go after you’re gone. That’s where estate planning comes in. Here are some estate planning basics, courtesy of; contact an attorney for more information and to get started setting up a plan for your estate.


Estate Planning is For Everyone

There’s power in putting your wishes to paper! As we mentioned above, estate planning isn’t just for the wealthy. In fact, it can be even more crucial for families with modest assets, because poor estate planning can be more detrimental. Estate planning isn’t just for the elderly, either—no one knows how long they will live, so it’s better to plan early.


What Happens if You Don’t Plan

There is framework in place for when someone without a will or living trust passes. If that is the case, a person’s assets will be distributed according to his or her state’s laws. You can see New York State’s intestacy laws here. If someone wants to leave anything to a person who’s not a family member, he or she needs a will, as the New York State will only distribute assets to family members.


Consider a Living Trust in Addition to a Will

A will is a good start, but many estate planning professionals recommend you also have a revocable living trust, which can avoid probate at death, bring all your assets into one plan and provide increased privacy. Read more about the benefits of a living trust here.


The Best Time to Plan Your Estate is Now

Yes, it may be grim, but there’s no way of knowing when we’ll die. So, rather than leaving your loved ones caught off guard at a time when they are grieving, plan your estate now to be prepared. Doing so will give both you and your family peace of mind that all will be taken care of after you’re gone.