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Wills important not just for the wealthy

A common myth related to estate planning in New York and elsewhere is that it applies only to asset owners who are wealthy. However, the truth is that creating wills can be beneficial for asset owners of all levels of wealth. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans do not have wills.

A recent survey indicated that out of over 1,000 Americans, 64 percent of them between the ages of 37 and 52 lacked wills. Although some individuals feel that they do not have enough assets to put together estate plans, they likely have at least one item that they wish to designate to someone else. This is why creating a will is so important: it helps to ensure that one's assets end up in the intended hands.

Asset owners who have only a few assets do not necessarily need complex estate plans. However, each one would benefit from having a will along with a power of attorney and durable medical power of attorney. The latter two documents are used to pinpoint who will be authorized, when necessary, to make financial and medical decisions on behalf of the person who has created these legal documents.

Without wills, asset owners in New York are essentially leaving their assets and estates to the intestate laws of New York. Especially with families that are blended, if no estate plans are in place, their valuable assets may end up being passed to the incorrect individuals. An attorney can help with putting together a well-thought-out will that accurately reflects one's wishes.

Source: clevelandjewishnews.com, "Estate planning applies to everyone, not just the wealthy", Becky Raspe, Sept. 20, 2017

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