Do I need a Durable Power of Attorney?
It is a document that allows you to appoint one or more persons to make your business and financial decisions and this becomes even more crucial should you become incapacitated. Upon incapacity, the person you appoint can even be authorized through the Power of Attorney for Medicaid planning to protect your assets.
Do I need a Health Care Proxy?
A Health Care Proxy is a document that allows you to appoint someone to make your health care decision if you are unable to do so yourself. It is important to choose someone who is familiar with your healthcare wishes to make decisions for you, ratherthan the medical professionals.
What is a Living Will?
while a Health Care Proxy is the accepted document used to make health care decisions in New York, the Living Will is the accepted document used in other states. Essentially, the Living Will provides more detailed information about what procedures you want or do not want if you are incapacitated. In addition, in case your Health Care Proxy agent's decisions are challenged, the language in the Living Will can also be used as clear and convincing evidence of your wishes in a New York court.
Why do I need a Will?
A common misconception is that wills are only for the rich. But, that's not true. A will is an essential part of any estate plan and is necessary to transfer your assets upon your death. A more sophisticated will is extremely useful to establish trusts for minors, spouses, in the case of divorce, and incapacitated persons so that assets do not pass directly to them. If you die without a will, state law controls the disposition of your property and settling an estate without a will is more troublesome, costly and takes a lot longer.
How can I avoid Probate?
To be effective, the will must be probated at your death. It is a lengthy, costly and burdensome process consisting of appointment of a representative, liquidation of assets, intervention from the Surrogate's Court and the issuing of Letters Testamentary. In order to avoid this process of probate, you can either make sure all assets are titled in such a way that they automatically pass to someone at the time of death which can sometimes lead to other problems or your might consider creating atrust which is considered a will substitute.