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Estate planning can be broken down into manageable stages

It is a fact that everyone will have to face their own mortality. That being said, it is estimated that only 40 percent of older residents have plans in place to protect their wealth or health. Many people feel intimated by the idea of estate planning as it seems overwhelming. New York residents do have access to many tools and professionals who can help them draft these important documents.

According to a survey conducted by Wells Fargo, the chances of an older person becoming a victim of financial abuse are an estimated 20 percent, though only 10 percent of people are concerned about it. There are ways to prevent it, and it is suggested that every one have at least four documents in place. Those four documents are as follows: a will, a power of attorney for both finances and health care as well as an advanced health care directive that will address what medical interventions would be acceptable in certain situations.

When approaching planning, it may be helpful to take it in smaller steps. One can first choose who to select as beneficiaries and then choose surrogates to make decisions when one is unable to do so. When those steps are completed, it is helpful to ensure that updates are made when needed. Once those plans are in place, it is important to store them in a secure location that is accessible to the loved ones selected to carry out the instructions.

Lastly, it is recommended that older parents discuss their wishes with their adult children. Wells Fargo found that approximately 72 percent of respondents choose to keep their financial affairs private, but secrecy may be counter productive if one becomes incapacitated and cannot communicate his or her wishes to others. There are a wide range of options that are available to New York residents when one sets out to complete the task of estate planning. An experienced attorney can provide information and assistance during the creation of these vital documents. 

Source: CNBC, "These costly estate planning mistakes can be fixed", Lorie Konish, May 9, 2018

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