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Wills, other documents essential for young or old, rich or poor

A common mistake that people in New York make is thinking that they are too old or young to start planning their estates. Likewise, many people believe that they are either too poor or too rich to create wills and other estate planning documents. However, the reality is that estate planning is a wise move for everybody no matter what stage of life he or she may be in, or what his or her financial status might be.

The holiday season is an especially opportune time to begin to talk with family members about planning an estate, especially parents or other relatives who are aging. Of course, when discussing estate planning, it is important that those who bring up the topic avoid making demands. Instead, they ideally should make suggestions -- for example, they can say that they just completed their own will-creation process and then ask their loved ones if they have done the same.

In addition to creating a will, it is essential for people to create health care proxies and powers of attorney as well. Health care proxies designate people to make decisions for individuals who become incapacitated and thus cannot make these decisions for themselves. Meanwhile, powers of attorney are legal documents that appoint people to manage finances on other parties' behalf if they are incapacitated or for other specified circumstances.

For those who have significant assets they would like to protect, they may also want to set up irrevocable and/or revocable trusts. Trusts can be particularly handy for protecting homes during health care crises, and they also offer tax benefits. An attorney in New York can assist estate owners with the process of creating wills, trusts and other estate planning documents so that their wishes and their loved ones' best interests are protected long term.

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