During the course of preparing a New York estate plan, many different issues must be considered. Initially, the basic plan must identify beneficiaries and the property or amounts each is to receive. A thorough review and understanding of the creator’s assets and the ownership interests are essential. As extensively discussed in the New York Probate Lawyer Blog, a Will only controls assets that are held in the decedent’s name alone. Joint assets and assets with designated beneficiaries pass to the named parties automatically upon death.
Still another concern is whether to create a Living Trust as a primary vehicle for post-death transfers or to rely primarily upon a Last Will.
Regardless of the type of estate plan created, some consideration should be given to any possible effect of estate taxes. In recent years, estate taxes have received less of a review because the exemption amounts have generally increased. For the year 2020, the Federal estate tax exemption protects assets up to $11.58 Million. A husband and wife combined can protect double this amount. Also, all assets passing between a husband and wife are fully deductible and are not subject to estate tax.