A New York resident who has a spouse and children might pay close attention to estate matters, especially in case of major changes to their financial or family situation. However, those who have never married may not worry as much about estate planning due to the fact that there aren’t dependents. The reality is that anyone who has assets should think about creating an estate plan to ensure that their wishes are documented legally. Failing to do so could result in the court system having to follow the state laws of intestacy while absorbing some of those assets to cover its costs.
In many cases, those with no marital or parental responsibilities will name a companion, parents, siblings, or nieces and nephews as beneficiaries. They may also designate close family or friends as those in charge of any necessary medical or long-term care decisions. They might identify certain assets to be donated to scholarship funds or for other charitable purposes, which can help in reducing the tax burden for an estate.
It may be helpful to provide an explanation of one’s decisions, especially if there is an unequal distribution of assets to persons with reasonably similar relationships to the testator of a will . It is also advisable to review one’s estate plan at regular intervals to identify areas in which changes are warranted. In some cases, friends might have been included at one time who are no longer close to the testator. In other cases, the financial circumstances of a beneficiary might change, warranting a larger or smaller portion of the estate being designated for that individual.
An estate planning lawyer can be helpful for coordinating a trust or will to ensure that a client’s intentions are clearly and legally documented. Additionally, a lawyer can provide appropriate guidelines for reviewing one’s plan if estate tax laws and other relevant issues change over time.