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Things to consider about estate planning

One mistake that many people in the Brooklyn area make is assuming they will live forever. As comforting as this thought may seem, it could lead to them experiencing financial challenges as they near the end of their lives. Thinking of death is not pleasant, especially when it is one's own. But the more time a person takes to consider the different ways their lives may change as they age, the better they can plan their lives and finances to prevent hardship and conflict. 

According to U.S. News and World Report, at least "half of all Americans do not have estate plans." Estate planning is something that most people can benefit from. There are strategies and resources they can use to create plans that protect their interests and loved ones, even if their family members do not agree with them. Here are some tips that individuals can use to beef up their estate plans to accommodate their future needs. 

Wills are instructions 

Many people believe that they can create wills to avoid their assets going through probate. The probate process is necessary for most assets that individuals leave behind. Wills are instructions that specify how they are to be distributed. If a will meets all validation requirements, the courts will approve it to allow the estate to be settled and asset distribution to occur. 

State law supersedes final instructions 

Some individuals assume that they can do not have to follow the probate laws in other states if they own property in them. However, each state handles probate issues differently. When a person who owns multiple properties in different states dies, their material assets are governed by the probate laws of the jurisdiction it sits in. 

Some assets bypass probate 

Bank, retirement and investment accounts, including 401k's and joint bank accounts and certain financial assets that have beneficiaries are often overlooked by many people when they create their estate plans. Instead of passing through probate upon death, they are distributed to the beneficiaries that the governing institutions have on file. To prevent complications, people should review their beneficiary designations often.

Trusts serve multiple functions 

When someone has children, pets and other loved ones that they want to provide for, they should create trusts to protect their inheritances. Besides providing financial protection for loved ones, trusts can also prevent creditors from benefiting from an estate, states Sense and Centsibility. 

Anyone who does not enjoy the thought of their loved ones, creditors and other parties fighting over their belongings and assets when they die should make provisions to prevent it in the form of estate plans. They should consider all aspects of their lives and intentions when creating them.

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