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Creating wills essential for safeguarding assets

A common misconception when it comes to estate planning is that this process is necessary only for the rich. The reality is that estate planning, including the creation of wills, is important for anybody who owns assets, no matter how many or few. Here is a glimpse of what the creation of a will involves in New York.

A will details how someone's assets should be distributed following his or her death. Asset owners can divide their assets however they choose. For example, they might decide to leave all of their assets to their spouses, or they could divide their estates equally among their children. Alternatively, they could leave certain items to charities or individuals.

Will creators must appoint executors -- personal representatives who can carry out their wishes after they die. Executors are responsible for not only distributing assets but also paying taxes and paying any money that is due to creditors. If the creators of wills fail to appoint executors, then the state will appoint its own for them, and unfortunately, the state's choices may not necessarily be what the will creators would have wanted.

Creating wills can quickly become overwhelming, especially for those with large numbers of assets. However, an attorney can easily help asset owners to generate them in a manner that reflects their wishes and best interests. Through well-thought-out estate planning, people who own property in New York can make sure that their property ends up in intended hands when they pass away, rather than being divided by the state based on local laws.

Source: sandiegouniontribune.com, "Legal essentials for caregivers: wills & trusts", April 24, 2018

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