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What Should Be Included on an Estate Planning Checklist in New York?

estate planning new york

Whenever you hear the term “estate planning,” do you envision long hours spent in an attorney’s office, huddling over stacks of legal documents and drowning in legal jargon? If you do, you are not alone. However, estate planning need not be so intimidating. Please continue reading, then contact an experienced Rockland County wills, trusts and estates attorney today for more information on what documents you will need to include in your estate planning checklist in New York State.

How do you devise an estate planning checklist in New York?

Those wishing to put their affairs in order before they pass on should make use of the following estate planning documents:

  • Last will and testament: A will allows you to specify who you want to inherit certain physical and intangible assets as well as who will serve as guardian of your minor children and pets.
  • Revocable living trust: A revocable living trust is a legal entity that “owns” the property you put into it while still allowing you to use and control that property while you are alive. After you die, assets in a revocable living trust can pass to your heirs quickly and privately.
  • Beneficiary designations: Certain non-probate assets – such as 401(k) accounts, pensions and life insurance policies can transfer directly to a beneficiary after your death.
  • Advance healthcare directive: With a living will or medical power of attorney, you outline your medical care preferences in case you can’t decide for yourself and, in the latter case, choose someone to act on your behalf.
  • Financial power of attorney: With a financial power of attorney, you give someone the legal authority to manage your finances and property for you, including paying bills, making bank deposits and managing your real estate property.
  • Insurance policies and financial information: You should keep all of your insurance policy documents together, including those for life, health, car and home as well as a list of your financial accounts and instructions to access them. This list should include bank accounts, credit cards, mortgages, loans, tax returns, pension plans, retirement benefits and investment portfolios.
  • Proof of identity documents: Make your Social Security card, birth, marriage and divorce certificates, prenuptial agreements, divorce settlements and any Armed Forces discharge papers easily accessible to your executor.
  • Titles and property deeds: Ensure that the current owner is listed on all deeds for homes, vehicles and other real estate.
  • Digital account logins and passwords: Use a password manager or digital vault to keep track of your login information for all your online accounts, and/or designate a digital executor.
  • Funeral instructions and wishes: In this document, you let your survivors and other loved ones know what you want done with your remains, what type of service you would prefer, passages you want read and preferred charities for memorial donations. You may even specify whether you would like flowers.

Contact our Firm

If you require an experienced team of attorneys, contact The Lauterbach Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.

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