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Wills and trusts are essential estate planning tools

Many people in the United States, including in New York, are at the age where they need estate plans but have not taken the time to create them. Without an estate plan, a person's assets may not end up in the intended hands following one's death. Both trusts and wills can be invaluable estate planning tools.

Recent research showed that more than 60 percent of adults in America do not have wills. About 50 percent of them claimed they did not need wills or that they simply had not gotten around to creating them. Wills are particularly important for addressing the unique needs of family members that one fears might not be addressed after one dies.

Although wills account only for the division of assets when a person dies, trusts continue on for an established period and usually govern how assets will be distributed. Trusts allow people to set restrictions on when assets are to be distributed in addition to identifying conditions for their heirs to get bequests. For instance, bequests might remain under a preappointed trustee's supervision until a child becomes 18. 

With a will, a person in New York can easily document his or her wishes in detail in the event of his or her death. Appropriate legal guidance can help people to develop well-thought-out wills as well as update them regularly. An applied understanding of the law may also help people to create trusts that will ultimately meet their loved ones' needs and be in line with their personal wishes.

Source: cnbc.com, "Don't drop the ball when planning your estate", Trey Smith, Sept. 13, 2016

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