Creating and updating a Will remains one of the most common reasons that an individual contacts a New York estate planning lawyer. Popular culture has enshrined the belief that a “Last Will & Testament” is the foundational document that everyone needs to prepare for their future and that of their heirs. This is a particularly common assumption among senior community members who are giving close thought to how they’d like their assets to be distributed, concerned about possible healthcare costs, and interested in protecting their estate from various contingencies.
However, Wills represent only the very beginning of the estate planning process that most families should consider. Actually, for many seniors Wills may be counterproductive. Instead, “living trusts” continue to increase in popularity as a legal tool to help seniors plan for their future in a much more comprehensive manner than that available through a traditional Will. Even the American Association for Retired Persons has advised seniors of the dangers of basing an elder law estate plan on a Will alone. If you are a senior in our state, it is vital that you learn more about a New York living trust.
For one thing, a Will only takes effect upon death, which means it does nothing to help seniors plan for possible disability, guardianship, or others matters later in life. In addition, using a living trust instead of a Will avoids the risk of a protracted probate contest where a judge–not the family–will decide what happens to an estate.
More and more seniors and their families are discovering the benefits of the living trust. The trust ensures that a wide range of planning can be conducted in private by the family, and often at a far lower cost than necessary to handle an estate according to a Will.
Our New York elder law attorneys at Ettinger Law Firm have decades of experience working with families in all areas of their estate planning matters. When it comes to protecting an estate you spent a lifetime building, be sure that you do not miss out on any of your options. Contact a New York trust lawyer and learn more about how you and your family can best plan for the future.
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