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Learning the basics of estate planning

As people in New York consider retirement and their futures, they may also begin to think about estate planning. Over 70 percent of Americans do not have an updated will or other estate documents, including a number of people who are reaching retirement age. These documents can help provide peace of mind to the people who create them as well as make the practical aspects of death much easier for family members and other loved ones.

Everyone should have several key estate planning documents in place. Even people without significant assets or young individuals who expect to live many years into the future should have these key documents in place to avoid confusion, turmoil and extra costs to their beneficiaries. A will is a means to lay out how a person's property should be passed on after his or her death. A lawyer can help people create legally valid wills at an affordable and accessible cost that meets each person's individual needs.

A will doesn't just have to deal with traditional property. People can allocate funds for their pets and name guardians for them after they pass away. They can also name a proposed legal guardian for their children in the case both parents suddenly die. By creating wills, people are achieving an important milestone. At the same time, it is necessary to review the will at a later time to make sure it is still accurate, especially after marriage, divorce or the birth of a child.

It is important for most people to have a number of key documents in place, including financial powers of attorney, advance health care directives and living trusts. An estate planning attorney can work with people who are thinking about the future to lay out a clear plan for their property and create the documents that reflect that vision.

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