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Estate Planning Basics

 Posted on September 14, 2022 in Estate Planning

Metro New York Area estate planning attorneyWhen most people hear the subject of estate planning, they often think this is something only senior citizens need to have. The truth is that every adult should have an estate plan in place, regardless of their financial status. The thought of putting together an estate plan can be intimidating, especially if you are not sure of what you should include in yours. The following is a brief overview of basic estate planning tools. For more detailed information about your particular situation, contact a Connecticut estate planning attorney.

What Is an Estate Plan?

The major components of an estate plan are documents that have been drawn up that specify how an individual wants their assets and property distributed when they die. However, your estate plan can also include directives regarding what should be done regarding medical decisions and what financial decisions should be made should you become incapacitated. Some of the more common tools in an estate plan include a will, trusts, healthcare proxy, and financial power of attorney.  

What Happens if a Person Dies Without a Will or Other Estate Plan Tools?

If a person dies without leaving a will directing how their estate should be distributed or without any kind of trusts set where their assets have been placed and a beneficiary named, the state considers this dying “intestate.” In these situations, the intestate laws of the state the person lived in when they died would apply.

What Is the Probate Process?

When a person dies, their estate is required to go through the probate process. It is a legal process where the person who was named as executor in the will is in charge of filing the will with the court and paying all the debts and financial obligations the decedent had. During the probate process, anyone who disputes the will can file their contestation. The court will eventually decide if the will is valid. Once that decision is made, the executor distributes the estate’s assets per the instructions in the will or per the court’s instructions if the will was found to be invalid.

It is important to keep in mind that if the decedent set up trusts, the assets and property are protected from the probate process. This is why many people take advantage of this estate planning tool.

Contact a Metro New York Area Probate Lawyer for Legal Assistance

To learn more about estate planning and what types of options you may have for your estate, contact Ivey, Barnum & O'Mara, LLC at 203-661-6000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Greenwich, CT estate planning attorneys.



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