Preserving assets for your heirs is something you can achieve through estate planning. New York law supports your right to organize your estate and prepare it for your beneficiaries. Estate owners have to set aside their assets to make the best of their future expectations. Without hedging your heir’s assets, their inheritances could be taxed or taken to pay off debt. Preserving your assets calls for you to set up your estate by using the following tools.
A living will
A living will is a document intended to offer guidance for a public court when it interprets your wishes. When you die, this document speaks on your behalf. Estate planning with a living will, however, differs from planning with a common will. A living will includes the wishes you have should you be incapacitated while still alive. You can use a living will to express the medical care you want when you can’t otherwise speak. The living will is also used to assign roles that family, friends, or professional entities assume in your absence.
A suitable trust
Strategizing your estates plan with a trust gives you a bit more options than a living will. Unlike your will, the trust you set up is private. Neither public courts nor family members can challenge your trust or bring its contents out to the public. For this reason, the assets that a trust holds are preserved for those you assign as beneficiaries. Without this privacy, it’s possible for anyone at a court hearing to dispute your estate and its disbursement of assets. A trust:
- Has a trustee who manages and releases the contents of your trust
- Uses a beneficiary as the person or entity receiving the trust’s contents
- Can be revocable and changeable or irrevocable and indefinite
- Is active the day you sign the trust into a binding agreement
A look at retirement
The assets in your retirement accounts are also part of your estate. As long as you include them within your retirement accounts, they’re protected from taxes later on and might be left for your beneficiaries if you make a plan for them.