What Are the Most Important Documents in an Estate Plan

What Are the Most Important Documents in an Estate Plan

What is an estate plan?

Estate planning involves an individual making plans and putting measures on ground to provide for proper handling and management of their personal affairs and finance in case of an eventuality which  might lead to them not being able to manage their affairs anymore.

No one is too young or old to plan. Everyone has to and needs to plan. Planning is important for those with a modest estate as it is for the wealthy. Planning one’s estate gives a sense of assurance for the future if  anything should happen at any time.

In making a comprehensive estate plan, there are vital documents that the estate plan should have. Without these documents, achieving the aim of making the estate plan might be impossible.

To ensure you get your estate planning right and all your documents are properly established, get help from an estate planning lawyer near you.

Our estate planning attorneys are ready to assist you wherever you are in New York.

Important documents to include in an estate plan

Some basic documents that should be included in an estate plan include:

  • Will
  • Living trust
  • Power of attorney
  • Healthcare proxy
  • Advance healthcare directive


A will is a detailed and basic estate planning document which contains necessary information on how you want your estate to be managed as well as the beneficiaries of your estate in the case of death.

In writing a will, there are a whole lot of things you will need to put into consideration. It goes beyond just allocating whose getting what. There are many ways you can write a will but if you are in New York, you should write your will in accordance with New York’s law. If your estate is a complex one or you wish to avoid probate either because of cost or any other reason, it would be best if you contact an estate planning attorney near you.

When writing a New York will, there are legal requirements which you have to be familiar with or you can get a professional estate planning attorney near you

Requirements for writing a will in New York

  • The will must be in writing.
  • You (the testator) must be 18 years or above.
  • You must be of a sound mind at the time of writing the will.
  • There must be at least two witnesses concurrently present who must each sign and attest to the presence of each other.
  • The will must also contain the written signature of the testator.

Living trust

At the event of death, your will is admitted to court for probate proceedings. Probate proceeding involves different steps which for instance include your named executor settling your debts, taxes etc. If you are a person whose assets are much and are in different places, probate might even take longer and cost more. Also during probate lots of challenges are encountered like the challenge of will contest, insufficient fund to settle creditors, the named executor might even reject this role. But you can make things easy by passing your assets in a living trust in New York.

With a living trust, your assets pass to the beneficiaries directly and immediately without passing through probate.

A living trust is a legal agreement between the trust creator (grantor) and a trustee for the trustee to manage the trust assets on behalf of the beneficiary. The grantor funds assets into the living trusts by retitling the assets in the name of the trust. In that case, the trust becomes the owner. The grantor can name himself as the trustee and use the assets to his own benefit. He must, however, name a successor trustee who will manage the trust assets according to his laid out terms when he becomes incapacitated or deceased.

Power of attorney

A POA (Power Of Attorney) is a legal document bearing the name of the person whom you have chosen to take over your affairs on your behalf when for one reason or another you can’t handle them yourself.

Health care proxy

 Health care proxy is also known as health care power of attorney. It allows you choose a person who will be making medical decision concerning you on your behalf when you are no longer capable to make these decisions yourself.

 Durable financial power of attorney

This is another important legal document. Unlike the health care proxy POA, here you appoint someone or an agent who you trust to make decisions concerning your finance. These decisions are made in your interest when for some reasons like illness or old age you can’t make these decisions yourself. These agents are legally bound to always act in your best interests.

Advance healthcare directive (Living will)

No matter when or how, there must certainly be an end to a person’s life. For some persons they get caught up in critical situations. They are not dead but they are living with the aid of life support systems. Most persons wouldn’t want to live like this so they would prefer to die than being kept alive by life support systems. They make this decision now that they are capable.

Get professional assistance from an estate planning attorney in New York

You will need the assistance of an attorney to guard you in the process of these documentations. Our estate planning lawyers in New York are ready to assist you. Call us today.


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