Why Have an Estate Plan?

Bob Shaw - Estate Plan - Why Have An Estate Plan?

Every family, regardless of income and assets, should have an estate plan. In my last article, we talked about why estate planning is important. In this article, I share a few more compelling reasons to consider an estate plan. Here are some examples:    

  • It is important to have a will. If one dies without a willsurvived by minor children with no surviving parentthe courts may have to step in to determine a guardian for the children. This situation is avoided when the decedent leaves a will naming a guardian. A will also avoids potential litigation between the families of each parent.
  • Should a health crisis occurleaving an individual unable to handle their affairsa power of attorney is needed as a solution. This power names the individual who will be responsible for all non-medical decisions. Without a power of attorney, it may be necessary to have the court appoint a guardian to make those decisions.
  • The same scenario applies if an individual becomes unable to make their own healthcare decisions. Without a healthcare proxy, it could become necessary to appoint a guardian to make those decisions.  
  • Planning ahead with a trust is important for asset protection in the event of potential marital difficulties and creditor issues. If those situations arise, the trust becomes a device to shelter at least some assets.
  • Tax planning for high asset individuals is paramount. In New York, the estate tax exemption is $4,187,500 with the federal exemption amount at $5,450,000. For couples with assets approaching this range, the use of a trust is important to avoid potential tax. Remember that the size of the estate includes non-probate assets, such as life insurance.
  • If there is a non-citizen spouse, a trust is almost always necessary. Without a qualified domestic trust, the non-citizen spouse will not receive the federal estate tax exemption amount.
  • When an individual resides part-time or owns property in more than one state.
  • Planning for the future protection of a disabled child when parents are unable to handle the care.

If you have questions regarding your estate plan or want to get started with an estate plan, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

Robert Shaw

Robert W. Shaw, Esq.
(914) 328-1222

E-mail Bob

 

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Robert W. Shaw is licensed in New York.