Estate planning can be affordable in New York, as wills are not as expensive to set up compared to trusts, but trusts may save money on the administration end by avoiding probate costs, which can be expensive.  Estate planning is very important and an area where costs should not be an individual’s primary focus.

 Setting up a will in New York.

  • Individual must be 18 years of age, or older
  • Be of sound mind and memory when signing the will document
  • An executor must be named to distribute the estate upon the individual’s wishes
  • The will must be signed in the presence of at least two witnesses.

Dangers of estate planning without legal counsel.

Each estate plan is unique to an individual and what they will leave behind upon their death.  The will, or trust dictates what happens to property, who will raise minor children, and how an individual will spend their last days, in the event of long term illnesses where an individual may not be able to speak for themselves, along with naming a person to carry out these wishes (executor).  Estates are tricky and closing one out can take months, or years it if not properly handled by legal counsel. Basically, the only positive of writing one’s own will, utilizing a boiler plate document, is the cost savings on the front end, but the cons for real life situations may end up costing hundreds of dollars, lost time and frustration by those left behind to deal with the matters when mistakes are made.

An executor may be left with bills and costs related to the decedent, without the ability to use estate funds until the matters are settled.  These can include paying off creditors, burial costs, and upkeep on property for example, along with fees for professionals who perform services for the benefit of the estate such as appraisals.  All of these costs should be paid from the assets of the estate, so it is imperative that the estate is handled legally and in a timely manner.

Probate.

An estate plan can actually save money, because in New York, a probate filing fee can cost as much as $1,250 depending on the size of the estate, and that does not include administration fees, legal fees, and potential lawsuits, versus the lower cost of a basic will.  If a probate lawyer was not already in place with regard to an individual’s will, the executor of the estate can hire a New York probate attorney who will file a copy of the will along with a certified copy of the death certificate of the will maker in the New York Surrogate Court.

Seek legal counsel.

The size of an estate, the named beneficiaries and other entanglements surrounding a Last Will  and Testament require the assistance of experienced legal counsel who understand the state and federal laws that will impact its administration.  Contact Attorney Ron Meyers with questions regarding costs to prepare an estate plan.

 

Ron L. Meyers & Associates, PLLC

Address:  475 Park Avenue South, Suite 2100

Manhattan, NY 10016

Phone: 212-644-8787

 

Sources:

https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/EPT

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