Wills and trusts are designed to give you the power to make a plan to decide who will receive your money and property after you pass away. Estate Planning, Health Care Proxies and Powers of Attorney help protect your assets if you become ill and lets you select the people you’d like to help you. It also gives you the final say about difficult health and financial decisions that may arise.
An Estate Plan pulls together all the legal documents that implement your personal decisions regarding your personal and financial matters. It goes beyond merely preparing documents. A proper plan requires a thorough analysis of your personal and family situation.
A Will is your written instructions detailing not only your wishes for the distribution of your assets upon your death. It also appoints the Guardians of your minor children and the individuals who will administer your Estate. It should include Trusts for minor children and Trusts for individuals with special needs.
Another way to manage your money is through a Trust. There are many types of trusts. The one you choose depends on your needs and the needs of the people with whom you want to share your Estate. Creating a Trust for a young child or an individual with Special Needs is critical. A Medicaid Qualifying Asset Protection Trust for an elderly individual is critical in protecting your life savings from being spent on a Nursing Home.
One critical benefit of a Trust, it will help to avoid the expensive, complex, and time consuming Probate Proceeding.
Health Care Proxy
A Health Care Proxy appoints individuals to make medical decisions for you when you are unable to make your own decision. It also contains specific directions as to your wishes. This is sometimes called a Living Will.
Durable Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney appoints one or more individuals to handle all of your non-medical affairs. It is a critical document that every person needs.
A Health Care Proxy and a Durable Power of Attorney are the two key documents you need while you are alive. Without them, no one can act on your behalf without asking the Court to appoint them as your Guardian. That is an expensive and complex process.
Probate and Estate Administration
If you have a Will, there will be a probate proceeding of your Will after you die. Probate is the judicial process whereby a Will is approved by the Surrogate’s Court and your Executor is appointed to handle your last wishes.
If you have no Will, it is called dying intestate. If you die intestate, your property is given to certain persons under New York’s inheritance laws.
Administration is the judicial process whereby the Surrogate’s Court appoints an Administrator to distribute your assets. These individuals may not be who you want to receive your assets.
These Court Proceedings are complex and require the assistance of an attorney.
Let Us Help!
Call on Charles G. Davis of Davis and Davis to help you develop a plan for managing your assets and health decisions using the Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy, and more. Older adults and people with Special Needs can also get help through guardianships and Medicaid Planning.