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Legal counsel can prevent common errors with wills and trusts

Estate planning can be a daunting process, and that might be why -- reportedly -- only about half of all Americans have legacy plans in place. Wills and trusts are essential for people in New York and elsewhere, to make sure their wishes are met for aging and possible incapacitation or death, of which the latter can happen at any time. Leaving it for a more appropriate time to draft a will could be a big mistake.

The need for a will is not determined by the amount of assets people have. It is best to be prepared for the unexpected events, and put together a will at a young age, and modify it through the years as circumstances change. It is also crucial for a will to be findable -- to make sure assets are divided as intended. Naming beneficiaries is another essential part of estate planning that has complicated pros and cons, such as tax implications, and whether to make minor children beneficiaries or to establish a trust instead.

Powers of attorney must be in place for parents and their adult children. Accidents can happen at any age, and parents may not have any say about medical matters or financial matters if a child older than 18 has not given them powers of attorney. Similarly, adult children may be left out of decisions about their incapacitated parents' medical care or finances without power of attorney.

These and an endless list of other issues form part of estate planning, and while it could be overwhelming, the entire process can be simplified with the help of an experienced New York estate planning attorney. A lawyer can draft wills and establish trusts based on the client's unique circumstances. Legal counsel can also assist with annual reviews and modifications to address life's changes.

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