Estate Planning and Administration

Many people wrongly believe that a Will is only for the rich or those who want to set up trusts or save taxes. This is one benefit but Wills are necessary for everyone. The primary reason for making a Will is to leave your property to those you care about, and in the proportions you choose.

Having a Will means a say in the distribution of your estate

Three out of four Americans die without leaving a Will. The reason is obvious: no one enjoys thinking about his own death. But if you die without a Will, you give up control over your assets to the government.

If you want to have a say over what happens to your family, your home, and your financial assets after death, you need a Will.

A Will, which Deutsch & Schneider, LLP can draw up after one meeting, can prevent the State from enforcing decisions about your estate that you never would have made.

It is important for you to take an inventory of your assets and decide how you want them distributed.

One of the most critical decisions you can make about your estate is the selection of an executor. As overseer of your estate he or she will inventory all your assets, collect money owed to you, pay debts, notify insurance companies and collect the proceeds, arrange for your family’s living expenses, file all tax returns, and distribute your estate.

Besides ensuring that your estate is distributed according to your wishes, a Will also can reduce the financial, tax and emotional burden placed on your heirs.

Careful planning with Deutsch & Schneider, LLP will enable you to create a Will that provides for the well being of your family and ensures your peace of mind.

If you have minor children at your death, a court appointed guardian will be required to manage your child’s share. Although the court probably would appoint your spouse as guardian, a bond may have to be posted. Payment of the bond premiums will cost money. If any money has to be used to pay for your child’s education, clothing or living costs, prior approval of the court is necessary. The court also requires annual accountings of income and expenses. In addition, investment of the funds by the guardian may be limited as well. If the guardianship lasts for any length of time, the child’s funds may not grow at an acceptable pace. All these problems and the related expense could be easily avoided with a properly drafted Will.

If you and your spouse should die at or about the same time it is important that you make provision not only for a guardian of the property of any child under age 18 but also, and perhaps more important, you should name a guardian of the child’s person. A guardian of the person is given custody of the child during minority.

How do you go about making a Will? Can you pick up some printed forms and make them out in your own handwriting? You could do that, but you might not have a legal Will, and you may not have the best Will for your personal situation.

Making the best plan and the best Will takes the knowledge and expert advice that Deutsch & Schneider, LLP can provide with its wealth of experience. Our firm has drafted thousands of Wills for clients over the past 50 plus years.

Perhaps you’re interested in buying a book or an on-line service that tells you how to write your own Will. This might cause you to miss an essential requirement or have less than the best plan.

Making the best plan and the best Will takes knowledge and expert advice. For example, do you know that property held jointly with another may not be distributed by Will? Or that life insurance may or may not be distributed by Will depending who is named as beneficiary? Or that the same can be said of individual retirement accounts, pension plans and other assets? Or that a spouse has a right to a car and some other items, and to a large share of the property no matter what your Will may say? The best plan recognizes that the best Will is only part of the total plan for the distribution of your property.

If you plan properly and have your plan reviewed periodically, you may also lower or eliminate your tax burden and leave more to your beneficiaries.

Before you make a Will, you should also know how estate taxes affect you. The federal and New York estate taxes frequently change as the result of various tax reform acts. So you may not be up to date with these complex and always changing laws. Also, you may be unaware that you can choose which of your beneficiaries pays the estate taxes. If you plan properly with Deutsch & Schneider, LLP you may be able to plan your estate in ways that can lower or eliminate your tax burden and leave more to your beneficiaries.

To have the best plan for yourself and for your beneficiaries, call or E-Mail Deutsch & Schneider, LLP to make an appointment to discuss your Will.

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