The estate planning lawyers at Schwartz, Fang, & Keating, P.C. can help you plan your estate properly, mindful of current estate tax laws and other legal regulations. Planning your estate can seem daunting when you initially begin the process on your own. Surrounded by information and paperwork—where do you begin? Below we have created a helpful article about how to plan your estate.


Step 1: Assess All of Your Assets

In order to properly plan how your assets will be divided after you pass, you must have an accurate assessment of the value of all of your assets. It’s vital not to make any assuptions here, but be 100% thorough. Some things to gather would be: paperwork of your mortgage, assessments of the value of all cars, boats, etc. owned, current bank statement, documents from your retirement plan, 401k, any IRAs or trusts etc.


Step 2: Draft a Will

With your assets assessed you can now plan to divide your estate amongst your beneficiaries, whomever they may be: spouse, children, grandchildren, and so on. You should understand the importance of having a will in place, to learn more about what happens when a person dies without a will click here.


Step 3: Name an Executor

Now that you have your will drafted you can name an executor. The executor is the person who will carry out the stipulations of the will. They are legally responsible for paying any debts with the estate money and then passing the remaining assets to beneficiaries in accordance to the will.


Step 4: Document Everything

Putting all of your wishes in writing can help ensure they are followed by your executor. If you are working with an estate planning attorney, it will be helpful to them to have a written list of all family members that appear in the will and their relationship to you. You should also give your lawyer a copy of the documentation in which you assessed your assets.


Step 5: Be Aware of Taxes

If you are planning your estate yourself you need to be aware of current estate tax laws and regulations, such as the assessed estate value in relation to the tax limit. Each estate has different regulations on tax, it’s important to understand if your estate is subject to tax. Many of our clients have many common questions regarding estate tax for a list of them click here.


Step 6: Know The Regulations

If you will be giving gifts you should be knowledgeable of the rules and regulations of tax free gifts. Gift giving can be a way of lowering your estate value in order to avoid estate taxes. You should discuss your legal options with one of our Long Island Estate Lawyers.


When planning your estate, don’t be overwhelmed– contact our estate planning lawyers of Long Island and New York City to help you do it right. Be confident in your estate plan, knowing that all of the appropriate legal regulations have been followed and adhered to. For more information regarding estate planning give us a call at one of our offices at: (516)488-0100.