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What do Americans seem to have against wills?

Many New York residents and others simply don't like to discuss the fact that they are going to die someday. That is, this is one of several possible reasons many adults fail to execute wills or other estate planning documents. Of course, some people say they don't think their assets are worth enough to go through the process.

The size of an estate is generally not relevant when it comes to whether crafting an estate plan can be of benefit. Using wills as an example, there are different types (living and final) which serve specific purposes and can be useful whether one is of meager means or possesses substantial material wealth. When surveyed, many people say they aren't opposed to the idea of estate planning; they merely haven't gotten around it.

Currently, an estimated 40 percent (or a tad bit more) of adults in the United States have estate plans in place. The percentage is a little higher for those who have designated health care powers of attorney. This means they have named a person or persons as having authority to make decisions on their behalves (with regard to medical care) should they become incapacitated and unable to speak for themselves.

Those who die with no wills in place often set the stage for family squabbles when their estates become intestate and are processed in probate court. There's no guarantee the court will distribute assets to the same beneficiaries an estate owner would have chosen. If a son, daughter or other family member assumes an inheritance is due, but the court transfers that inheritance to another party, serious contention may arise. To avoid such problems, an estate owner can discuss such issues with an experienced New York attorney who can help execute a thorough plan.

Source: wealthmanagement.com, "Americans Not Taking Estate Planning Seriously", Feb. 22, 2017

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