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Executing solid estate plans typically involves more than wills

Invite one hundred people in New York to talk about their estate plans, and how many will show up? Chances are, half -- if you're lucky. Many people avoid discussing wills or their own mortality like the plague. However, those who understand the importance of drafting a solid plan to protect their assets and provide for their loved ones will likely be the ones to attend gatherings focused on the topic.

Family members often face tremendous challenges when no wills are set in place by loved ones gone before them. In such situations, estates become intestate, and a probate court determines to whom and how assets will be distributed. There's no guarantee the court will choose the same people estate owners themselves would have chosen had they executed plans.

Solid estate plans aren't usually solely comprised of wills, however. There are many other important documents available that can help estate owners provide for themselves in situations related to health and finances, as well as for their children if they wish to designate guardians to raise them should the need arise. An estate plan can actually be customized to suit an individual's needs and goals.

The process can be simple or complex, depending on the issues at hand. Size of an estate doesn't matter as much as how detailed a person wishes to be regarding wills, personal care directives, financial matters and other related topics. Many people planning their estates in New York choose to have experienced estate planning attorneys on hand to answer questions and provide guidance as needed.

Source: CNBC, "Five ways to bulletproof your estate plan", Tom Anderson, April 7, 2017

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