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Wills, trusts, powers of attorney essential estate plan pieces

Just as saving for college tuition and retirement in the future is important, estate planning remains a critical life-planning step in in New York. Estate plans feature a number of options, including trusts and wills. Other documents in an estate plan can also help beneficiaries to carry out the benefactor's requests.

One important estate planning document is a power of attorney. This document allows a person to name someone else to make legal and financial decisions for him or her. It often takes effect in circumstances where the one granting the power becomes incapacitated. Spouses often execute joint powers appointing each another.

Another estate planning document is the health care power of attorney, which allows a person to name someone to make health care decisions if the individual cannot make these decisions on his or her own. In addition, a living will can be used to outline the health care that a person desires to receive if he or she cannot make his or her own medical decisions. Finally, a will is used to specify who will receive one's assets; it can also be used to appoint a guardian for one's minor children. A trust is recommended for transferring property to heirs without the need to go through the public, lengthy and costly probate process.

Many people in New York prefer not to focus on estate planning simply due to lack of time or because the topic seems morbid. However, creating trusts or wills now, while one is healthy and of sound mind, can prevent problems for surviving loved ones in the future. Appropriate legal guidance may help people to efficiently complete the estate planning process in a manner that will satisfy their needs and goals.

Source: gobankingrates.com, "Your Estate Planning Checklist: How to Create a Financially Sound Estate Plan", Natalie Campisi, June 22, 2016

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