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Hidden Traps in a New York Will That An Estate Planning Lawyer Can Catch

Fortune Magazine recently published an article about hidden traps that a person can run into while preparing their will.

And while it’s possible that an individual can put together a will on their own, this isn’t necessarily the best idea. First of all, a person who isn’t trained in New York estate planning won’t know the ways to best avoid taxes, handle complexities of leaving assets and setting up an executor and how to best protect your legacy.
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As our New York Will And Estate Lawyers reported recently, a survey found that 60 percent of Americans believe that having a will in place or planning an estate is important, yet they don’t do it themselves.

Let’s face it — planning out your demise isn’t the best of times. But it’s a necessary step for any adult, especially one with minor children. Even if a person doesn’t have millions of dollars to leave behind, they have assets. A house, car, collectibles, even old keepsakes that mean something to family members. Proper documentation will lay out where those assets will go. Having a properly planned estate can give you peace of mind — and make it easier on the family when you pass.

And for those with children, a will is critical. While New York intestate laws will make sure a child or children end up with family, it may not be the best scenario. Plus, there’s the issue of where life insurance money or assets will go to make sure the child is taken care of financially. These are complex issues.

The article by Fortune Magazine states that an improperly filed will can lead to a person disinheriting their beneficiaries from a big portion of an estate. A 401(k) plan automatically goes to the spouse’s survivor, even if the account was started before the two got married. In some situations, 401(k) money can be moved to someone else with a spouse’s waiver.

Another issue is an IRA account. A will may not be able to address who gets an IRA account at the time of death, as whoever was named as a beneficiary at the time the IRA was started may end up collecting, even if it’s an ex from decades ago. This can lead to estate litigation in New York and contested wills.

Reviewing these documents, at the time you decide to consult with a Great Neck Estate Planning Lawyer, can go a long way toward avoiding confusion and frustration at the time of your death. Leaving these matters unchecked can cause in-fighting and lead to bitterness among your beneficiaries, something most people wouldn’t want to have happen.

Clearly, these matters are complex. This area of law has many requirements and must be handled with extreme care. As they say, the only guarantees in life are death and taxes and no one knows when death will happen. So, it would be prudent for you to put together these documents as soon as possible and plan for your family’s benefit. And if there are changes in the future, a lawyer can go back over these documents and figure out the best ways to keep them updated.

The Law Offices of Ira S. Newman can help with planning a will, estate or trust in New York City, Long Island, Great Neck and throughout the area. Call 516-487-7375 or contact us through the website.

More Blog Entries:

Amy Winehouse’s Will Highlights Need for Great Neck Estate Planning Lawyer: August 3, 2011
Survey: Americans Think New York Wills and Estate Planning Important, But They Don’t Do It: July 19, 2011
Additional Resources:

Your will: The hidden traps, by Janice Revell, Fortune Magazine