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Wills are important for everyone to have

For many asset owners in New York and elsewhere, estate planning seems to be something that only the wealthy need to complete. It is true that most individuals do not leave multi-million-dollar sums of money to their loved ones when they pass away. Still, creating wills is essential for everyone.

Surveys reveal that over 50 percent of Americans do not have wills. However, the will is a staple part of any estate plan. Besides having a will, confirming a health care and financial power of attorney is essential. In addition, having a document that clearly explains what one wants done with one's remains can be helpful.

Those who are wealthier may also wish to consider setting up trusts rather than just having wills. In their basic form, trusts transfer ownership of particular assets to trustees upon specific life circumstances. For instance, assets might be transferred following the death of the party who created the trust.

Putting together an estate plan is often deemed a morbid task, which is one reason it is often ignored in today's already-busy world. However, when a person passes away with no will, there may be negative consequences, such as leaving a family with no or little direction. Other consequences include leaving children without an assigned guardian or paying more in taxes and fees than necessary. Although estate planning can be complex, a qualified attorney can help with putting together wills and other estate planning documents that reflect asset owners' wishes and best interests in New York.

Source: iowapublicradio.org, "Estate Planning: It's Never Too Early to Draw Up a Will", Emily Woodbury and Charity Nebbe, July 11, 2017

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