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Wills important for people of all income levels

Estate planning in New York typically is associated with wealthy individuals. However, in reality, people of all income levels can benefit from wills and other estate planning documents. A few tips may help people to confidently navigate the estate planning process.

First, it is imperative to have a will. If a person does not have a will, the state will be the one to determine to whom his or her assets are transferred. This means if a person is not married and has a life partner or a charity that he or she loves, but the person does not have a will, his or her assets may not go to these parties.

A will is also important for young families with children. Without a will, a state court will have to determine who will be the ones to care for a young couple's children if the couple dies. The caretakers the court chooses may not be the couple's first choice. Also, as people go through various milestones in life, from marriages to the births of new children and even divorce, it is imperative that they keep their estate plans up to date to ensure that these plans continue to align with their particular wishes.

A thorough estate plan in the state of New York lists the assets that one wishes to pass down in the event of one's death, and it names the beneficiaries of these assets. It also spells out who the guardian of one's children should be. Proper legal guidance may help people to craft wills and other estate planning documents that reflect their long-term wishes.

Source: CNBC, "No will or estate plan? Big problem for you and your heirs", Sarah O'Brien, Aug. 9, 2016

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