Major estate planning documents you should have
Major estate planning documents

Major estate planning documents you should have

Last Will and Testament

Last will express your intent on how you would like to share your estate properties to your family or close relative. You can also assign a guardian, state who get what out of your belonging and the time they get it. 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.

Living Trust

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.

Living Will (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.

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 Power of Attorney, 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.

Bottom line

  • The attorney would be professional enough to help you with necessary document and paperwork. For your convenience, contact an estate planning attorney near you. 
  • All debt must be paid before final distribution of the deceased estate properties.
  • For a decedent with will the estate’s executor or personal representative assigned by the decedent initiate probate proceedings in a surrogate court. This is usually the first step in implementing an estate plan.
  • Petition to the court will be easier with the help of an estate or probate attorney, contact one closest to you today.
  • A named individual can react the appointment to act as an executor of the estate. If such is the case, the court will look to out for someone else.

While wills or any other estate plan document 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 our estate planning attorney today.

For blended families or even single entrepreneurs, estate planning is important. Although we hope for the best, no one truly knows what will happen the next minute. The good news is you can plan for such eventualities now to ensure your family would get the kind of care you want, and also for your legacy to live on. We can help you achieve all that. Call us to speak with a highly experienced estate planning, NY 11354.