Estate planning may be a general term, but the plan is unique in all states. This denotes that, estate plans differ in each states. In New York, there are some crucial documents that are required to for an estate plan to work. These documents are:
Last Will and Testament
A Last Will and Testament, referred to simply as a will, is a legal document by which you bequeath assets to whoever you wish them for. Without a will or trust, the state of New York will give ownership of all your possessions (that are held in your name) to your closest heirs — your spouse and kids if they are alive. This may not be your wish. You probably have a friend, distant relative or even a charity organization who you wish to bequeath some wealth to when you pass away. You can make this possible by stating it in a will.
Financial Power of Attorney
In the event of incapacity, you definitely would need someone to be in charge of your financial responsibilities. You do not want just any member of your family to be in charge especially when they lack the financial know-how. In order to ensure that someone competent and of your choosing becomes the one to make financial decisions for you, name them by creating a financial power of attorney now. Your agent appointed has the legal authority to handle your finances and make decisions on your behalf in the event you become incapacitated. Do not be confused with the name. Your agent must not necessarily be an attorney or any legal professional whatsoever.
Health Care Proxy
Just like the financial POA, a health care proxy is a legal document granting someone else the power to make medical decisions on your behalf when you become unable to make them yourself due to incapacity. You can name any member of your family or a healthcare professional to do this. A healthcare proxy is also sometimes referred to as a Medical Power of Attorney.
Advance Healthcare Directive
A living will, as the name denotes, is a will that only operates during one’s lifetime as opposed to a Last Will. A living will does not transfer assets, but is used to spell out your wishes concerning your end-of-life healthcare preferences. These may boil down to whether you would desire to be put on life support, offer your body for scientific experiment or organ donation, etc.
If you do not want your loved ones to go through the complex and expensive process of probate when you die, simply bequeath your assets to them by creating trusts instead of a will. A living trust helps you avoid probate (or simplify it when used alongside a will) minimize estate tax, and prevents publicity that comes with wills. In a trust, you must name a successor trustee who must manage the trust assets when you become incapacitated or pass away before they are transferred to the beneficiaries.
What could go wrong with a ‘do it yourself’ estate plan?
It could be tempting and perhaps less expensive to make estate plans all by yourself. The dangers lies in not creating the proper plans which would be fit to stand in New York. While it may not be bad engaging in steps involved in planning your estate, it is a bad idea to go do it all yourself without involving an estate planning attorney near you.
While wills are now downloadable online, be aware that estate planning is not one-size-fits-all. There may be a need to customize your will to suit your estate goals without compromising the validity of your document, and it becomes imperative you seek help from an experienced estate planning lawyer near you.
Contact an estate Planning Attorney today.
If you aren’t an estate planning attorney, you may require the help of one when planning your estate. A competent estate planning Attorney has the necessary resources, experience, and knowledge to ensure that your estate plan covers all your wish. An estate planning attorney can also offer you valuable advice regarding how you should plan your estate to avoid the much-dreaded probate process.
If you reside in the city of New York and you need the assistance of a good estate planning attorney for your estate, you can count on us! We boast of the best estate planning attorney in the state. Contact us now!