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New York estate planning eases burden on families

Some people think that estate planning is complex and will cause family disputes while others simply do not want to think about asset distribution. Unfortunately, too many New York residents die without wills, a health proxy or power of attorney in place. The National Association of Estate Planners and Councils explains that it is important to have a living will and trusts in place not only to preserve assets but also to make estate administration and asset distribution easier on the family.

A revocable living trust is an essential component of estate planning. It can be amended at any time, and it safeguards assets. It allows an estate to be settled more quickly upon the loss of a loved one. In some cases, the probate process can be avoided by having this legal document in place. The state also allows residents to have expedited probate for small estates.

In the event that an individual becomes incapacitated and can no longer handle his or her own financial matters, having a power of attorney in place will allow the attorney-in-fact to perform the designated functions. Any asset with a named beneficiary does not have to go through probate. With a trust, individuals can specify when heirs can receive assets and how those assets can be used.

Having an estate plan is important for people of any age. Estate planning lawyers can help to set up more complicated documents such as a special needs trust or a health care proxy to ensure that the assets of a decedent are distributed as he or she desires. These documents also help to hasten the process and avoid certain familial disputes.

Source: TIME, "Why This Estate Planning Tool Beats Just Having a Will", Kerri Anne Renzulli, October 06, 2014

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