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Why parents in New York may want to consider an estate plan

When people think about estate planning, they typically think it is only something that people need to do if they are elderly or ill. While these are certainly instances when many people would probably have some kind of an estate plan in place, planning ahead can be beneficial to just about any person who lives on or around Long Island.

One of the most important times a person will want to consider putting together an estate plan is when he or she starts a family. Whether this means getting married or having children, a person who is going through this type of life event may want to take steps to ensure that these loved ones will be taken care of in the event of his or her death. It may not be an enjoyable experience, but it can be crucial in making sure your wishes are carried out appropriately.

For example, actor Paul Walker was a young and healthy man before a tragic car accident resulted in his untimely death. If he had not had a will in place, his $25 million estate could be in jeopardy.

But according to recent reports, Walker did have a will in place. Shortly after he became a father and started working in the successful "Fast and Furious" films, Walker prepared a will in which he stated his wishes for how he wanted his finances and affairs to be handled in the event of his death. 

In Walker's case, he reportedly left his entire estate -- valued at about $25 million -- to his one and only child. And rather than simply hand $25 million over to a 15-year-old girl, Walker specified that he wanted his mother to serve as his daughter's guardian. He also requested that his father be the executor of his estate, giving him the authority to make decisions related to Walker's properties and investments.

Even though his will could still be challenged, the fact that he had one in place may provide some sense of relief to his loved ones. In similar situations when a young parent passes away and does not have a will in place, it can be very difficult for family members to make decisions. It is for this reason that young parents in New York and those who may have significant assets may want to consider having an effective and comprehensive estate plan in place.

Source: USA Today, "Paul Walker leaves estimated $25 million to daughter," Feb. 5, 2014

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