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Lack of estate planning is common for those 55 and above

New Yorkers who have a well-crafted estate plan are taking necessary steps to prepare for the future. While this is a relatively obvious need, many ignore it. Surprisingly, a significant portion of those who fail to create even a basic estate plan are people 55 and older. Having strategies for the long-term is critical and legal help is vital to accomplish this.

A study by Age Wave and Merrill Lynch found that around 45 percent of people 55 and above have not made a will. The study examined 3,000 adults and gauged how people 55 and older felt about planning for the end of their lives. Although this can be a difficult issue to think about, nine out of 10 stated they were willing to talk about it.

A will is a critical part of an estate plan. When thinking about the words "estate plan," people should know that it encompasses items they own, real estate and financial accounts. A will can detail how the person wants their property handled and who should get what. It can also be used to appoint guardians for minor children. Another important decision that can be included is choosing an executor. This is someone who will make certain the will is adhered to and will address the paying of outstanding bills, selling properties that must be sold and more.

Another important estate planning document is a health-care directive - or a living will - to detail the person's desires if they become incapacitated. A durable power of attorney will let an agent oversee the finances if the person is incapable of doing so. Finally, account beneficiaries for retirement accounts and life insurance are frequently forgotten after an estate plan is created. Beneficiaries must be listed for retirement accounts, and, if a former spouse is the beneficiary, this can be problematic.

The failure to create an estate plan is a mistake that too many people make, which results in long-term disputes and battles among family members and other heirs. To avoid this, it is wise to contact an experienced estate planning attorney to create the necessary documents based on individual needs.

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  • I wanted to write to say how pleased my wife and I were at your professional handling of our estate planning and preparation of new wills. We were put at ease by your visit to our home for an interview and were pleased that you listened to us and captured the things that we felt were important.

    --Robert and Christine Simonson, Fairport
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    — Christine and Robert Simonson, Fairport
  • I have been working with Weinstein & Randisi for about two years now. Elizabeth Randisi, through a very thorough process, has helped my wife and me determine what is really important in our lives. Thus, we were able to draft a living will that reflected our most important values regarding our estate.

    --David and Ajia Cherry, Fairport
  • I would like to give a testimony for Elizabeth Randisi, an estate attorney with Weinstein & Randisi. Her knowledge of wills and estate planning was clearly demonstrated in her presentation to us. Realizing our need for a will, my husband and I went to see Elizabeth.

    --Kathy and Gary Gray, Webster
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    --Ajia and David Cherry, Fairport
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