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Wills and trusts help to dictate how assets will be passed down

Nearly every person has an estate, whether he or she believes it or not. This is why creating estate plans, which may include trusts and wills, is so important. Unfortunately, it is a task that many individuals in New York neglect to complete.

An estate is essentially composed of everything a person owns. This includes a car, home and other real estate, furniture, personal possessions, life insurance, investments and saving accounts. Through estate planning, people can control how these items are given to the organizations or individuals about whom they care the most.

It is important to produce specific instructions that state who should receive a particular item and when the other party should receive it. The goal is to accomplish this with the lowest amount being paid in court costs, taxes and legal fees. Well-considered estate planning is particularly critical for people who have valuable assets to pass down, such as family businesses. In the case of a family business, estate planning can play a critical role in the business's ongoing success.

People in the state of New York naturally often avoid the topic of estate planning simply because they consider it to be morbid. However, not having an estate plan usually leads to chaos for one's survivors after one dies. Creating an estate plan and then discussing the plan with heirs might help to prevent confusion or disputes in the future. Through proper legal guidance, people can put together trusts, wills and other estate planning documents that enable them to dictate how their valuable assets are passed down in the event of their deaths.

Source: dl-online.com, "Help your loved ones: Get ahead on estate planning", Karin Haugrud, July 5, 2016

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