Inheritance planning is one of the most important things you will ever do over the course of your lifetime. Throughout your lifetime you will work hard, save prudently, and invest wisely, all in the hope that you will have enough left over when you die to help provide for your loved ones when you are gone. Given the importance of inheritance planning (also referred to as “estate planning”) it is in your best interest to work closely with an experienced New York estate planning attorney to ensure that all of your objectives are met in your final plan. There are, however, some inheritance planning tips that you may wish to consider when contemplating the creation of your plan.
What Is Inheritance Planning?
We are all familiar with the concept of an inheritance; however, inheritance planning involves more than just planning for the distribution of your assets when you die. Inheritance planning, or estate planning, attempts to also do things such as grow your estate assets while you are alive, protect you and your loved ones in the event of your incapacity, and ensure that your estate assets are used to provide for your family and loved ones when you are gone. To accomplish all of those goals you need a comprehensive plan. You may also wish to consider the following inheritance planning tips:
- Start now! People often put off creating an inheritance plan because they think they have yet to make their fortune and, therefore, do not need a plan. The truth, however, is that you need at least a basic estate plan from the moment you start working to ensure that the State of New York does not decide the fate of your estate assets if something happens to you. You also need a plan in place to cover the possibility of your own incapacity and to start planning for your own retirement.
- Consult with an experienced estate planning attorney. One of the most common, and most detrimental, mistakes people make is to try and save money by going the “Do-It-Yourself” (DIY) route. Inevitably, any money you save by foregoing the use of an experienced estate planning attorney when creating your inheritance plan will be surpassed by the money it costs to litigate your estate during probate as a result of the errors and/or ambiguities that are so common in a DIY estate plan.
- Incorporate asset protection strategies in your plan. If you fail to protect your hard-earned assets from the numerous and varied threats that could take them from you, there will not be anything left to pass down to loved ones, making the need for inheritance planning nonexistent.
- Appoint the right people to fiduciary roles. The average estate plan includes several fiduciary roles, such as Executor or Trustee, that need to be filled by the individual creating the plan. Failing to appoint the right person to a fiduciary role is one of the most common mistakes people make when inheritance planning. Do not just appoint your spouse, best friend, or family member to a fiduciary role based on the fact that you trust that individual. While trust is important in a fiduciary role, it should not be the sole basis for appointing someone to a position. Take the time to understand the duties and responsibilities of the position and then to appoint someone with the right blend of experience and abilities to the position.
- Review, Revise, Repeat. Congratulations – your inheritance plan is complete and in place. You are done right? Wrong! Inheritance planning is not something that is accomplished in one meeting with your attorney and then forgotten. On the contrary, your estate plan should be reviewed, and revised if necessary, at regular intervals over the course of your lifetime as well as when certain events occur that trigger the need for a review.
For more information, please download our FREE estate planning worksheet. If you have questions or concerns relating to inheritance planning tips, contact the experienced estate planning attorneys at the Law Offices of Kobrick & Moccia by calling 800-295-1917 to schedule your appointment.