Estate Planning helps plan for things such as retirement and the potential need for long-term care. Wealth preservation is a big part of estate planning. By postponing planning, you run the risk of your assets not going to your intended beneficiaries and exposing your estate to tax.
The estate tax applies to both the probate and non-probate property of the decedent.
As of January 1, 2021, the lifetime FEDERAL gift and estate tax credit is $11,700,000.00 per person. The basic NEW YORK exclusion amount is currently $5,930,000.00 per person.
On the Federal level, anything passing to the surviving spouse of the decedent is not
included in the taxable estate and consequently, is not subject to taxation. Unless an estate tax plan is in place, all of the couple’s assets are taxed upon the death of the surviving spouse.
Durable Power of Attorney
With a Durable Power of Attorney, you may appoint someone else to act for you when
you are unable to do so. This may be because you are mentally incapable or unable to be somewhere when needed. The person you appoint—your “attorney-in-fact”—should be someone that you trust to act in your best interest and make choices you would make if you were able to do so.
Similar to a Durable Power of Attorney, through a Health Care Proxy you may appoint
someone to act as your agent— but for medical, as opposed to financial, decisions. Unlike a power of attorney, the Health Care Proxy comes into effect only when your doctor determines that you are incapable of making decisions yourself.
With a Living Will, you may give guidelines that your health care agent will use when
making healthcare decisions, such as instructions on whether to refuse or remove life support if you are in a coma or a vegetative state, etc.