We’ll ensure your assets are documented and distributed as you wish.
DISPOSITION OF ASSETS
Nearly all of us have some assets that we wish to have disbursed at the time of our death. In some cases, a will may seem foolhardy, especially for those who have minimal assets. However, if you wish to leave specific property to friends, charity or to loved ones, it is necessary to catalog those assets and provide for their disposition.
DETERMINING ASSET TRANSFERS
Those with complex estates often have living trusts that are used for assets such as real estate, automobiles and other high-value assets. By transferring these assets into a trust, they do not have to go through the probate process. Other assets such as life insurance policies or retirement accounts that have named beneficiaries will also transfer directly to the beneficiary without the need for probate.
GIFTING PRIOR TO DEATH
One way to avoid probate is by gifting specific property, items or cash to loved ones or charities prior to your death. However, in order to dispose of your assets in this manner it is important to understand all of the laws that apply to gift taxes. It is very easy to cross the threshold from a non-taxable gift to a taxable gift.
There are any number of ways to ensure that your assets are transferred to your heirs and successors in the manner you wish. This may be done by gifting, using a trust, or including your assets in your will naming a specific recipient.
For those who need assistance with estate planning, it is generally a good idea to sit down and document the following:
A complete list of hard assets such as furnishings, knick-knacks, jewelry, etc.
A list of real estate holdings that are not jointly held
A list of bank accounts and other financial accounts that do not have beneficiaries and are not jointly held
Once these lists have been compiled, you may begin the decision-making process to determine how these assets are to be distributed upon your death. In order to be legally binding, it is wise to disburse these assets through a will or other legal document that has been properly witnessed.
Keep in mind, in order to be valid in New York a will must be witnessed by two people who are in each other’s presence at the time of the signing. Otherwise the will may be invalidated, and the court will decide how your assets are to be distributed once the obligations of your estate have been satisfied.
If you are concerned about how your assets will be distributed after your death, call Solomon Richman, P.C. at (516) 437-6443 to schedule a consultation with our estate planning attorneys. We will help ensure that your wishes for the disposition of your assets are in writing so your family will know your final wishes.