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Ensuring that a person's wishes are followed after death

In some cases in New York, people might worry that their wishes will not be honored by their family members after they die. When a person dies, leaving a spouse behind, his or her assets will normally pass to the spouse. The person might be concerned about making sure that the spouse follows his or her wishes when the spouse also dies, especially in situations in which the family is blended.

When a family has children from prior relationships as well as children together, worrying about taking care of all of the children from both relationships is understandable. In some cases, one child may also have special needs, requiring care for the remainder of his or her life. It is possible to handle these concerns with good estate planning.

Both spouses might consider establishing individual revocable trusts in their respective names. With this, each spouse would contribute to his or her own trust and designate the beneficiaries of it. If any of their children require special care, a special needs trust can also be established and funded. Special needs trusts can provide for the person's care during his or her life without necessarily interrupting his or her eligibility for needs-based governmental benefits.

When a person dies, his or her revocable living trust converts into an irrevocable trust. This means that it cannot be modified. The trustee must pass the assets held in the trust as dictated by the trust documents. Establishing trusts may be a good way for people to have greater peace of mind in knowing that all of their children will be provided for. People who are planning their estate may decide to contact an estate planning attorney who focuses his or her practice on wills and trusts. A lawyer might be able to review clients' options with them and help them make an informed decision.

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