We work hard to accumulate assets and property to give to our children and families once we have passed away. By carefully planning your estate, you can be sure that once you have passed away your wishes for your wealth and assets will be honored. Estate planning can be a complex process so it is a good idea to retain an experienced estate planning attorney who can help you plan to transfer your real estate and other assets after you have passed away.
One of the first steps to planning your estate is creating a list of all your assets and deciding who you would like to inherit them. Assets typically include financial accounts, real estate, businesses, and valuable possessions.
- Real Estate: If you own a home or other real estate, you should include these in your will. Your home and real estate will need to be appraised before they are included in your taxable estate. For homes and real estate, options including trusts and joint ownership can keep them outside of the probate process. In the case of joint ownership of a home, the home will only go through probate upon the death of the second owner. In New York, if the beneficiary you wish to transfer your property to also lives in New York a simple will may be your best course of action.
- Bank Accounts: Cash is considered one of the easiest assets to plan for because its value is easy to determine and because it can be divided simply among beneficiaries. To leave a bank account to another person upon your death, simply name them as the “payable-upon-death” beneficiary by filling out the correct form provided by your bank. After your death, the named beneficiary may claim the money in the bank account by providing a death certificate and legal identification.
- Retirement Accounts: Assets including life insurance, IRAs, 401ls, and other retirement benefits pass to the named beneficiary on the account, regardless of what is dictated in the decedent’s will. Although these accounts may be kept out of the probate process, some are subject to state income taxes and may be subject to federal taxes as well.
- Business Succession Planning: Business succession planning is the use of estate planning to create a survival plan for a business in the event of the business owner’s death. Replacing a business owner puts strain on management and employees and can potentially lead to the closing of an otherwise successful business. By creating a succession plan that considers, among other items, the transfer of ownership, value of the business’s assets, and its expenses including taxes, you may ensure your business continues to be an income-generating asset for your family after your death.
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Located in midtown Manhattan, Lissner & Lissner LLP has been providing exceptional legal counsel to executors and trustees for more than 65 years.Contact us or call (212) 307-1499 when you have questions about estate planning, administration, or litigation.