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Wills, other estate plan documents important for older singles

Older estate owners in New York who are single and do not have children might not have entertained the idea of creating estate plans over the years. Their focus may have been on moving up the ladder in their careers instead. The reality, though, is that drafting wills and a couple of other estate planning documents is particularly critical for those nearing retirement.

Wills are critical because they spell out where people would like their assets to go when they die. In addition to creating a will, it is important to name an estate executor -- the person who will assume responsibility for an individual's affairs once he or she passes away. Executors are also responsible for probating wills and paying estate/income taxes.

Along with wills, prudent individuals create health care proxies as well as powers of attorney. These estate planning documents pinpoint who should make financial or medical decisions for a person if that person is incapacitated. The documents are especially important for older individuals who are single, since they do not have spouses who can make these significant decisions on their behalf.

Putting together wills and other estate planning documents can understandably seem overwhelming, particularly for those with a large number of assets. On the contrary, it may seem unnecessary for those who feel as though they do not own much. However, estate planning is important for people of all financial levels and ages. An attorney can walk an estate owner through this planning process, making sure that his or her best interests are upheld in each document created in New York.

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