A Keen Financial Insight Into Wills And Trusts

Perhaps the biggest myth in estate planning is that you don't need a will unless you are elderly, ill or very wealthy.

Who Really Needs A Will?

  1. The truth is that anyone who is employed full time who has an IRA, 401(k) or pension can benefit from a will.
  2. If you recently married, you should also consider talking to an attorney to ensure that your wishes are clear and up to date. For example, it may be time to shift your IRA benefactor from your parents to your spouse.
  3. When your children are small, you want to make sure you and your spouse have carefully considered who should act as guardian for them should the unthinkable happen. The last thing you want is for your children to be put in the care of a person determined by the state. You can include a testamentary trust within your will.

Why A Health Care Directive Is Important

A carefully worded health care directive (HCD) spells out your medical care wishes should you be unable to speak for yourself. This may include whether you should be put on a ventilator or given food or water after a period of nonresponsiveness. An HCD can also explain in which instances you want heroic measures to be taken and in which instances you wish medical professionals to stop care.

While it's difficult to think about while we are alive and healthy, it's true that accidents happen at any time. A health care directive allows someone to speak on your behalf if you can't. This takes the burden off your family. No one has to wonder what you wanted and who should make decisions. A health care directive is a good complement to a power of attorney.

What Is Power Of Attorney?

Power of attorney gives a person of your choosing the power to make financial decisions on your behalf if you no longer can.

The stress of a serious accident or illness puts many people in a vulnerable or even angry mindset. Conflicts over money at this time can tear a family apart.

If, on the other hand, you have given one person power of attorney and left detailed instructions as to your wishes and goals, this can prevent conflict.

Why Work With A CPA?

A CPA sees both the legal and financial aspects of any issue. A CPA can offer in-depth analysis and a high level of guidance when it comes to potential financial gains or losses and tax liability and avoidance. A CPA can assist with succession planning and investment and asset transfer.

Which Type Of Trust Is Best?

The answer depends on your situation and goals. At Andrew Feldman, P.C., I've helped people determine which type offers the greatest advantages. We can help with:

  • Life insurance trusts: To ensure that your heirs can keep your business running
  • Revocable living trusts: To avoid living probate, death probate and New York and federal estate taxes
  • Irrevocable trusts: To minimize estate taxes, to keep you eligible for government programs or to protect your assets from actual or potential creditors
  • Special-needs trusts: To ensure that dependants with disabilities get the financial support and care they need once you are no longer able to help them
  • Qualified personal residence trusts (QPRT): Lets you maintain control of your home until you gift it to your heirs
  • 1031 exchanges: While often overlooked, this type of exchange lets families reinvest in the type of real estate that works best for those who will be managing the investment.

Additionally, assigning a trustee to have oversight of homes, accounts and other assets when your heirs are young is a good idea.

Work With An Attorney Who Understands The Financial Side

At Andrew Feldman, P.C., in Mineola, I will work one on one with you to determine your need based on your situation and goals. Estate planning, including wills and trusts, is done on a flat-fee basis so you never have to worry about making changes. Call 516-712-2983 or email meto get the conversation started.