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New York estate planning involves developing a will or trust

People typically don't like to hear the words "too late," as this usually signifies that he or she has missed something desirable. Although putting together a will is hardly regarded as something desirable to most families, who prefer to think about less-morbid topics, the results are highly sought-after when a New York resident ends up dying unexpectedly. Understanding laws related to estate planning may help a person to make the best choices possible when deciding how to pass down one's assets to beneficiaries.

People can choose among a variety of vehicles used in estate planning, but the will and the trust are the most popular. A trust is a pool of cash, investments and other assets that are maintained for a beneficiary. A trustee manages this pool, and the person creating the trust can decide how to distribute the assets in the event of his or her death.

A will is a legal document that basically explains how one wants assets and property distributed and divided upon one's death. A trust is more complex and expensive to set up than a will. However, a trust does offer the benefit of helping to avoid the lengthy process of probate.

Making the decision to create a will or set up a trust can have positive long-term effects on a family. On the contrary, failure do so means that the state will have to get involved in distributing one's valuable assets and property, and the outcome may not be in line with what one would have preferred. It certainly is within the rights of an individual in New York to seek to control his or her assets posthumously through the legal avenue of estate planning.

Source: Forbes, Wills vs. Trusts: What's Best For Retirees?, Thomas and Robert Fross, Feb. 18, 2014

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