After the Covid-19 Pandemic: Making Sure You Have the Critical Estate Planning Documents

With the increasing availability of the COVID-19 vaccine and the rate of COVID deaths dropping in New York, it’s a good idea to be optimistic about what the future holds and to take some time to review your estate plan. While some people need to start from the beginning, others simply need to revise some terms in their estate plan. This article reviews some of the essential estate planning documents that you should make sure you have written. Remember, however, not all 


What Critical Estate Planning Documents You Should Make Sure to Write


Some of the vital estate planning documents that you should make sure to write include:


  • Wills. Even many people who are only loosely acquainted with estate planning are familiar with wills, which address how your assets should be passed on as well as guardianship issues.
  • Power of attorney. A properly drafted power of attorney is sometimes just as if not more important than a will. A power of attorney lets another individual take over your financial matters as well as make healthcare decision in case you end up incapacitated.
  • Trusts. If you have children and want to pass assets onto them, it’s worth considering creating a trust to pass on these assets. Estate assets that are passed on to your children 


Understanding What Happens If You Pass Away without Estate Plans in New York


One of the best ways to encourage a person to create an estate plan is to explain to them what happens if they fail to create one. 


New York law states that a deceased individual’s “closest distributee” should open an estate if the individual passes away without a will. This “distributee” is often the individual who is tasked with overseeing the estate as it passes through probate. This individual is often the deceased individual’s spouse or the children of the deceased.


Surviving spouses and a deceased individual’s children, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren, are the first in line to inherit from the estate of a person in New York who dies without an estate plan. New York laws address various nuanced situations including that adopted children have the same rights to an inheritance as biological children, grandchildren only inherit if their parent passes away before the deceased individual, and children conceived during the deceased individual’s lifetime but born after the time that the individual dies to qualify for an inheritance. 


If a person is survived by neither a spouse nor children or grandchildren, the deceased individual’s parents equally inherit the deceased individual’s probated estate if both are living. Otherwise, the surviving parent inherits the entire estate if only one of the parents is deceased. 


Speak with an Estate Planning Attorney


As the United States begins to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and it becomes safer than it has in some time to be in public, it’s a good time to speak with an experienced estate planning lawyer who can make sure that you have the proper documents created. Contact Ettinger Law Firm today to schedule a free case evaluation. 


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