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If I Don’t Have An Estate, Do I Really Need An Estate Plan?

The question often arises as to whether an estate plan is necessary if you don’t believe you have an estate. The fact is that most people, whether they realize it or not, actually do have an estate. Real property aside, you may have checking accounts, savings accounts, IRA, pensions, or other financial accounts that may require management in the event you pass away or become incapacitated. In fact, a Power of Attorney becomes quite an invaluable document if and when you become incapacitated and need someone to manage your assets, even if those assets are comprised of a modest sum.

Without an estate plan, whatever assets you own will be disbursed according to the laws of intestacy (next of kin). While you may be perfectly fine with those assets going to those who are your next of kin (as known as distributees), you may want those assets to be transferred to other family members or close friends. Having a will is key no matter the size of the estate so proper management and disbursement can be made by someone who you choose to be the executor. Even if assets are minimal, there may be dealing with government agencies like the Social Security Administration or IRS. If you do have accounts like an IRA or pension, part of your estate plan should be the inclusion of primary and contingent beneficiaries so these assets can pass outside or probate or administration in the event of your death and save your family time and unnecessary expenses.

If you need an experienced New York estate planning attorney, please contact us at the Law Offices of Michael W. Alpert at (516) 280-7288 or e-mail: