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Goals of estate planning include avoiding family disputes

The main goal for many people when crafting an estate plan in New York is to cover all the bases and ensure the assets and properties go where the testator wants. This can mean many things and the strategies to achieve the desired ends are critical to the process. Understanding potential pitfalls is a sound way to avoid them. Paying attention to what industry experts see as risks is key. A recent survey says that there are three basic concerns with estate planning in 2019: family disputes, the fluctuating markets and changes to the tax code. For people preparing or updating their estate plan, these must be considered.

Although the estate plan is designed to avoid family disagreements, they still happen. Beneficiaries and who is designated as such will unavoidably leave some members of the family feeling left out or thinking they did not get what they are entitled to. A lack of communication regarding the estate plan is also a foundation for dispute. Blended families in which the testator might have remarried and had children with the new spouse can also be the catalyst for problems. Being transparent, having dialogue and keeping family members as up to date as possible are ways to avoid these disagreements.

People might not immediately think of market volatility as a potential problem with an estate plan, but advisors see it as a concern. Many estate plans address lifetime gifting, but the person's assets must be sufficient to cover that and their plans for retirement. Being aware of market changes and how the worst-case scenario can impact it is key. Finally, the new tax laws are important for the estate plan. Since the estate tax and federal gift limits were increased, there are tactics that can be used to maximize the benefit. Trusts are becoming more popular as a protective device for various assets.

Estate planning can be complicated and how a person goes about creating their documents is frequently dictated by changes to the law and the family dynamic, among other issues. A law firm that has helped many people with their estate planning needs can attempt to address these issues and more to devise strategies that achieve their goals.

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  • I wanted to write to say how pleased my wife and I were at your professional handling of our estate planning and preparation of new wills. We were put at ease by your visit to our home for an interview and were pleased that you listened to us and captured the things that we felt were important.

    --Robert and Christine Simonson, Fairport
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    — Christine and Robert Simonson, Fairport
  • I have been working with Weinstein & Randisi for about two years now. Elizabeth Randisi, through a very thorough process, has helped my wife and me determine what is really important in our lives. Thus, we were able to draft a living will that reflected our most important values regarding our estate.

    --David and Ajia Cherry, Fairport
  • I would like to give a testimony for Elizabeth Randisi, an estate attorney with Weinstein & Randisi. Her knowledge of wills and estate planning was clearly demonstrated in her presentation to us. Realizing our need for a will, my husband and I went to see Elizabeth.

    --Kathy and Gary Gray, Webster
  • Filing for Medicaid is never an easy or fun process. However, working with the Weinstein & Randisi firm made the process simple and streamlined. We were able to obtain all files and records regarding Medicaid enrollment within a few days using specially prepared checklists and verbiage recommended by our assigned paralegal.

    --Ajia and David Cherry, Fairport
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