Oct. 15-21 was National Estate Planning Awareness Week. Many New Yorkers have likely put off estate planning for some reason or another. Whether residents to create a new will or have one updated, now is a good time to think about estate planning. This includes one's assets and how they should be distributed among one's children and other relatives after one has passed away.
Any parents with young children will need to establish guardianship in the event that both the parents pass away before the children reach adulthood. Parents will need to have a conversation with a family member or trusted close friend about taking care of their children according to the parents' wishes.
For parents with children who are young adults, the question arises: do you want the children to inherit any money directly or would you rather set up a trust fund? A trust fund distributes money when children reach a certain age.
Adults who don't have children may wonder, who will receive their assets? Anyone in this situation should think about how their assets will be distributed. Will they go to other family members or charities? This should be spelled out in one's estate plan.
There are various types of trusts to choose from. The best choice will depend on one's age and marital status. Making sure an estate plan will be thoroughly executed at the time of one's death is important. This will ensure that the risk of family disputes over assets and inheritances is minimal.
Source: Times Herald Record, "Your finances: It's time to plan your estate," Laura Medigovich, Oct. 14, 2012