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Estate Planning Provides Clarity for All Families

There are many misconceptions about estate planning. For example, many New Yorkers may delay the process or avoid it altogether because they believe that their assets are minimal and estate planning would be just a waste of time. However, the reality is that estate planning is necessary for everyone, no matter the value of their assets.

There are few basic ideas to remember when estate planning. The first one is people. Those planning their estate need to think about spouses, children and other close family members. Those without family may want to consider any charities to receive assets.

Property is another important aspect of estate planning to consider. This is not limited to physical property, such as real estate, vehicles, antiques and personal collections, but financial accounts as well.

The next step is to make a plan. Basically, this amounts to who gets what. This may be easy if one's assets are limited, but for those who have a considerable amount of money and other assets, this could take some thought and careful planning. Regardless, it is crucial to be very explicit about how assets will be disbursed, so as to eliminate any confusion when the estate is administered.

The next step is to seek help from planners. Estate planning can be daunting, but a person does not have to do it alone. Estate planning attorneys can help answer questions and complete this complex process according to your needs.

Having an estate plan can prevent family disputes after one's death. When a will outlines your wishes, arguments are less likely to occur. Without a will or trust, it's left to the court to decide who gets a person's assets, which means that the person's final wishes may not be taken into consideration.

Source: Ventura County Star, " Guest column: Using the 'Four Ps' of estate planning," Juan C. Ros, Feb. 16, 2013