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Can you believe that 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February? Why is that? 

Some reasons include:

  • lack of clarity
  • a feeling of overwhelmedness
  • discouragement


We covered the first seven parts in part one. My goal here is to encourage you to take action–now–and create an estate plan. Doing so protects your heirs and family.

Part one discussed some critical factors and considerations you’ll need to factor in your estate plan. Part two is a continuation of the estate planning checklist. (Revisit part one here).


Your 12-Part Estate Planning Checklist

8. Understand how probate works in your state

Probate can be quite complicated, expensive, and varies by state. This is why some people try to avoid this asset transfer process. The best way to approach this is to try to understand what probate is and how it works. An experienced estate planning attorney can explain how probate works in your state and guide you step by step, saving you time and even money, down the road. 

9. Consider this: What happens if you fall ill or become incapacitated?

If you become incapacitated, whether temporarily or permanently, what type of care would you like to get? How would you pay for it, and who would make critical decisions for you? Try to be clear as to who you want involved. Why do you want that person to be involved? Factor this and several other possibilities into your estate planning. 

10. What about insurance policies?

What if you’re not able to provide enough money for your dependent loved ones? Would you need additional coverage, such as a life insurance policy for your loved ones? 

11. Seek legal advice

You’ll need a variety of legal tools. Depending on what your estate plan looks like, these can include trusts, a last will and testament, and special directives, to name a few. It’s necessary to guard against incapacity and to make proper arrangements for your loved ones. 

12. Implementing your plan

You’ll need to seek legal assistance to make your estate plans come to fruition. The implementation of your estate plan may require the creation and signing of certain legal documents, the transfer of assets into a trust, or changing how and who will own specific assets. An experienced lawyer can guide you here.

In New York, your most basic estate planning documents will include:

  • A will through which you can direct the distribution of your assets after your death. 
  • A living will that memorializes your healthcare and end-of-life wishes.
  • A healthcare proxy to name the individual that will be responsible for ensuring your healthcare wishes are honored and will make decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so.
  • A durable power of attorney to name the individual that should be in charge of your finances, if the need ever arises.


Comprehensive estate planning will help protect your assets. It will also help protect your interests and that of your family. To get everything done correctly, talk to an experienced estate planning attorney in New York. An attorney’s input will also help you clarify your goals.

Estate planning is not something you want to postpone indefinitely. Make plans now rather than leaving everything to fate and waiting for the worst to happen. The future may seem far away, but you never know what tomorrow may bring. I wish you the best while you continue to prepare for the New Year.


Chris Arrigali, Esq.


This information, based on New York law, was provided courtesy of The Law Office of Christopher J. Arrigali, P.C.  It is intended to inform, not to advise. No one should try to interpret or apply any law without the assistance of legal counsel. Please click here for the full disclaimer.

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