Estate Planning Basics: Wills, Power of Attorney, and Health Care Proxy
It’s never too early to start planning for your future. For many people, making sure loved ones are provided for in the event of serious injury, illness, or death is at the top of their list of concerns. Regardless of the size of your estate, there are certain documents you should have in place, in the event the unexpected happens. Specifically, as part of basic estate plan, there are three things that everyone should have in place, no matter the size of the estate: a will, a durable power of attorney, and a health care proxy.
Last Will And Testament
Having a will in place is imperative for providing for loved ones after your passing. In the state of New York, the surrogates court oversees the probate of wills. A properly executed will can make sure that your money and property are distributed to the people and organizations of your choosing. If you have minor children, a will can name personal trustees who can hold and oversee money for them. It’s important to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney when choosing to create a will. If you die without a will, or if your will is improperly drafted, New York law will then dictate how, and to whom, your assets will be distributed.
Durable Power of Attorney
By having your lawyer draw up a durable power of attorney, you can name someone to manage your assets and affairs in the event you become incapacitated. The person you name, referred to as your ‘agent’, will have the power to handle and oversee your financial matters in the event that you can’t. This can avoid costly and time consuming guardianships where the court would have to authorize financial transactions on your behalf.
Health Care Proxy
A health care proxy allows you to appoint a trusted relative or friend as your agent in making important health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so. Under New York law, a health care proxy enables you to set advance directives in terms of the types of medical care and lifesaving measures you wish to receive, as well as advanced directives for when you wish treatment to cease. Under state law, medical providers and hospitals are obligated to follow the directives of your designated agent, ensuring your wishes are honored.
Contact Our Estate Planning Attorneys
A will, durable power of attorney, and health care proxy are essential items everyone should have in place. Contact our experienced New York estate planning attorneys to ensure these important legal documents are drafted correctly, according to the laws of New York, as well as to your specific wishes. At Cavallo & Cavallo Attorneys, with offices in the Bronx as well as Westchester, we provide compassionate and effective legal service in handling all your estate planning needs.