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Serving the legal needs of corporations, individuals and
families of Suffolk County since 1972

Why New York residents need an estate plan

A family that was chronicled on the television show "American Greed" once had a $100 million fortune. The money was spent on vacations, diamonds and one trip to a strip club that cost $90,000. However, once the money ran out, family members began to feud with each other with one of them going to prison. One lawyer who has experience with estate planning says almost any family could learn from what they went through.

First, any family could have some sort of dysfunction that may need to be addressed. For instance, a child may have problems with drugs or alcohol or a family member could be bipolar. A bad marriage or a bankruptcy may also impact how family members treat each other and the assets that they inherit. Fortunately, creating an estate plan does not have to cost a lot of time or money.

It may be a good idea to start planning early. While a will may not help seniors, it could help protect the assets of younger people who are expected to live 31 years longer than those who lived a century ago. An estate plan should also account for the cost of long-term care as half of the population may become disabled in their lifetime. Long-term care insurance may be helpful in defraying these costs.

Those who need help updating an existing estate plan may benefit from having legal counsel. It may be necessary to update a will, change the language in a trust or take any other steps needed to have plan documents reflect current needs. Life events such as a marriage or divorce may necessitate changes to an estate plan that should be made as soon as possible.

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