It is likely that the majority of people who hear about the importance of setting up trusts or drafting wills believe that the main goal is to avoid estate taxes. However, there are many compelling reasons to choose to set up estate planning documents. New York residents may not be aware of the variety of purposes that these planning tools can fulfill.
One reason to set up a trust or a will is to ensure that one's final wishes are honored. If one dies without any plans in place, the state will then decide which heirs may inherit one's assets. In addition, these decisions will likely be accessible to the public, which may run counter to what was intended. Another valid reason to set up estate plans would be to plan for a possibly incapacitating illness or accident. These plans include naming trusted individuals to act as powers of attorney or as a health care proxies.
Other reasons for setting up trusts include providing for children in the event of a remarriage or for transferring a family business. Trusts can also ensure that a loved one who struggles with health challenges or a substance abuse problem can be provided for without jeopardizing the assets through misuse or through state laws that could consume these assets to pay for benefits. A properly constructed trust can also provide protection from creditors -- especially for grown children who may find themselves in a situation that could leave their inheritance vulnerable.
A trust or a will could also bring peace of mind that beloved pets are cared for the rest of their lives. There are many more reasons to draft estate planning documents beyond the traditional purpose of reducing tax burdens on loved ones. New York residents who are interested in learning more about how these types of tools can be incorporated into their final wishes may benefit from consulting with an experienced attorney.