For many, the holidays are an opportunity to spend time with friends and family and reflect on the past year. Here are seven reasons why the holiday season is the perfect time to work with an elder law attorney in New York to create your estate plan.
The holidays can often be the best time to broach topics that may be difficult to discuss. For those with aging parents, it may be the right time to have “the talk” regarding their financial affairs and health care issues. This can be uncomfortable for everyone but is critically important for protecting assets and ensuring access to quality health care. To ease the discomfort, consider this conversation during the holidays when everyone is together in a joyful, family-focused mood.
For parents who have already put together their plan, take time during the holidays to discuss with your children and other loved ones the plan you have in place. Make sure they understand who would be making decisions if you could not make them, and how you would like those decisions to be made. Hearing this directly from you may ease some of the burden and uncertainties of making those decisions in the future, and give you peace of mind.
With family and friends gathered and the end of the year approaching, it is a good opportunity to reflect on your year and what is important to you. This can put you in the right frame of mind for putting together or updating your estate plan. A common question we hear is “how often should I look at my estate plan?” Typically, an existing estate plan should be reviewed every five years or when there have been major changes in family or financial circumstances (marriage or divorce, additional children or grandchildren, receiving an inheritance, or retirement). Spend some time this holiday season reflecting and reviewing your estate plan and considering any changes you may need to make, such as changes to the decision-makers you appointed or inheritance arrangements.
If the ongoing pandemic has taught us anything, it is that the only thing we can count on is uncertainty itself. A sudden healthcare crisis can happen to anyone, regardless of age or health. When a crisis hits, having essential planning documents in place can ease the burden on your loved ones and allow them to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. For aging loved ones, it’s critical to prepare and plan now for their future care, including asset protection planning, designating decision-making proxies and advising family of their wishes as to health care treatments and even living arrangements. Once these decisions are made, all family members will have peace of mind.
Creating an estate plan does not have to be complicated. Putting together a power of attorney and health care proxy may only require you to consider who you trust to make decisions for you if you could not. The experienced elder law and estate planning attorneys at Cona Elder Law can guide you through the rest. Even creating a more comprehensive plan, including a will and irrevocable trust, does not have to be overwhelming. Let our knowledgeable Cona Eder Law attorneys guide you in making the decisions that will form the basis of your plan. We take care of the complex parts so you don’t have to.
Many people think it may take several months to create an estate plan, but that is not the case. At a consultation with our compassionate elder law attorneys, we will review your family and financial circumstances with you, and ask the questions needed to create your customized trust, estate and elder law plan. There are decisions that you need to make, such as who would make decisions for you if you could not and who would inherit your assets after your passing, but you can leave many of the details to us.
Creating (and updating) your estate plan ensures that you have control over how your assets are distributed. You should have a last will and testament that specifies who will inherit your assets after your passing and who is in charge of making sure your wishes are followed (your executor). In addition, having an irrevocable trust to protect your assets can ensure that in the event you need care in the future, your assets will be protected.
Most families do not have to worry about estate taxes or gift taxes with a federal tax exemption of $11,700,000 and New York exemption of $5,930,000. However, there are proposals in Congress to reduce those exemptions, possibly even reducing the federal exemption to match that of New York starting January 1, 2022. For those with substantial estates that may exceed the reduced estate tax exemptions, the time is now to set your plan in motion to be grandfathered in before these tax law changes. A comprehensive estate plan, using tools such as a credit shelter trust and life insurance trusts, can reduce or eliminate estate taxes.
The holiday season is a perfect time to create or update your estate plan. With the help of the experienced elder law and estate planning attorneys at Cona Elder Law, the process can be smooth, seamless, and easy to understand. Contact us today at Cona Elder Law today to discuss creating your customized trust, estate and elder law plan.
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