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The New York Estate Planning Checklist: Get the Essentials

Headline: Your New York Estate Planning Checklist in Four Easy Pieces

Estate planning is about life—ensuring quality of life for your family and loved ones, respecting the wishes of those who have passed on, and making sure that your decisions are respected.

Whether the first priority on your New York estate planning checklist is making sure your children inherit your assets and your ex-spouse does not, protecting your parents financially in the event that you become incapacitated, or providing for a long-term partner, New York attorney Jules Haas will make your priorities his.

You trust your priorities. Do you trust your plan? Use this checklist as a guide.

New York Estate Planning Checklist Part One: What You Want for Yourself.

For an example of the type of questions you will have to ask and answer in your own New York estate planning checklist with regard to your preference in medical treatment case of incapacity and end-of-life situations, look at “Five Wishes,” a template for advance health care directives created by the non-profit organization Aging with Dignity in 1997.

“Five Wishes” has since been adopted in 41 states, including New York. The five wishes are:

  • Who you want to make health care decisions for you when you can't make them.
  • The kind of medical treatment you want or don't want.
  • How comfortable you want to be.
  • How you want people to treat you.
  • What you want your loved ones to know.

Though “Five Wishes” was primarily intended for people who do not believe they will leave behind enough money or property to consider it an estate, the “Five Wishes” themselves are an excellent starting point for building your own “must haves” for the Living Will and Health Care Proxy portion of your estate plan.

New York Estate Planning Checklist Part Two: What You Leave to Those You Love.

This part of the list addresses not only wills and trusts, but guardianship for minors and dependents.

The following questions are not meant to imply that you should take the following actions—after all, if you are not married, there is no need to create an A/B trust or a Q-TIP trust; if you do not have (and do not plan to have) children, you do not need to name a guardian.

  • Do you have a will?
  • Does your partner/ spouse have a will, and if so, do both of your wills accurately reflect your current situations?
  • In your will (or your spouse’s will), do you name a guardian for your child/ children in the event that you and your spouse have both died?
  • Is your life insurance policy the best one for you and your family? Has your financial situation or family situation changed in the years since you took out life insurance?
  • Are your life insurance benefits large enough to warrant an irrevocable life insurance trust?
  • Have you or your spouse created any trusts, and if so, what kind?

(See New York Estate Planning Checklist Part 4 for more on trusts as a method of preserving the money and assets you leave to family and friends.)

New York Estate Planning Checklist Part Three: What You Own /Operate.
  • Are you the head of your own company? If so, have you created a succession plan?
  • Do you own a company with one or more partners? If so, do you have a buyout agreement?
  • Are you the head or one of the heads of a family-owned business? If so, have you set up a trust to set aside money for your successors?
  • If you have significant changes in mind for the company’s future, have you expressed these to your intended successor and put it in writing?

Whether or not you already know what your succession, buy-out, and trust plans are, write out what you want for your business’s future. Your successor(s), partner(s), investor(s), and employees will appreciate it.

New York Estate Planning Checklist Part Four: Limiting the Estate Tax Impact.
  • Do you make gifts of up to $13,000 to your relatives? (This will lessen your estate taxes, both yearly and cumulative.)
  • Do you and your spouse use all applicable marital deductions when you file your taxes?
  • Do you have a trust through which you can manage any vacation properties or second homes?
  • Have you created a living trust?

Make the decision to create your individualized New York Estate Planning Checklist. Contact Jules Haas today to begin checking off your completed estate planning goals. You can contact me at (212) 355-2575 or email:

Client Reviews
I am very grateful to Mr. Jules Martin Haas attorney of law in New York. I am from Buenos Aires Argentina. He managed with expertise a very difficult situation. of a complicate heritage from my aunt Anna Grodzka that lived and died a very long time ago in New York. I recommend him not only for his extraordinary knowledge but also for his kindness. Irma CW Peusner
I found Mr. Haas after being misguided by a former attorney. Mr. Jules Haas took our case which involved an estate/trust dispute. What initially seemed like an impossible and overwhelming legal fight was now in the hands of someone who had the integrity and legal expertise to win our case. Mr Haas' attention to detail and his expert knowledge base, skillfully and successfully guided us through an intricate legal process. I am very thankful and grateful to Mr. Jules Haas for representing our interest and ultimately winning. Bringing about a peace of mind we needed. Thank You Devida Nedd
I was in need of a guardianship attorney and I hired the services of Jules M. Haas' Law firm. The service of counselor Haas and his staff, was very profesional and the case was handled in a timely matter. I would strongly recommend his services Angel Guevara
I strongly recommend Jules Haas. I have worked with him for two years and he has provided so much support and followed through with everything he promised he would do. His support staff is just as helpful! We had an interesting case and he helped to solve each part of it legally and was very thorough. Thank you for everything you have done to finalize our families estate Robyn Stafford
Jules Haas helped me with managing the process in probate court for my father's estate through to its completion upon the sale of my father's house. He was knowledgeable, efficient, and effective in submitting documentation to the probate court, explaining procedures to me, and advising me as to the progress of my case. His support staff was also very helpful. He made what for me created so much anxiety into something manageable where I could see progress every step of the way. His fees were very reasonable. I am super grateful to him for all the help he has provided and strongly recommend his services. Diana Janer
I just completed an estate transaction where Jules Haas represented my client in an estate and he did a great job! He was very quick at responding to all matters throughout the sale process, he was detailed, he was knowledgeable and he was a pleasure to work with. I just recommended him to some new clients who are going through an estate matter and will continue to recommend him. Rodolfo Lucchese