Why Is Estate Planning Important?
When people hear the term ‘estate planning’, they often think it is something that only applies to older adults or those with significant amounts of money and property. The reality is that estate planning helps to protect you against unexpected but unfortunately common events, regardless of your age, health, or financial situation. The following details three situations in which estate planning helps both you and your family members.
In the Event of Your Death
One of the most basic but important tasks in estate planning is creating a will. Unfortunately, there are many people who do not have one in place. Among those who do, many fail to update it regularly to reflect changes in the personal lives, in their families, or in their financial situations.
A will details your final wishes, designates beneficiaries of your estate, and provides an inventory of the property and assets you possess. One of the biggest advantages is that a will can help to prevent time-consuming and potentially costly New York Probate Court proceedings.
Regardless of the size of your estate, it will still need to be settled through the Probate Court. Without a will, this is a far more complex process. It also subjects your belongings to the rules of intestate succession, rather than distributing them according to your wishes. Even if you do not own real estate or have significant holdings in financial accounts, items you own likely have sentimental value and you will want to make sure they end up with those you love.
In the Event of an Accident or Serious Illness
Accidents and sudden, serious illnesses can happen to anyone, regardless of their current health or age. When they do, advance directives provide important instructions for family members. The New York Attorney General’s Offices recommends the following:
- Living Will: This addresses issues regarding end of life care in situations where you are unable to communicate your wishes.
- Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order: This gives instructions on what life-saving measures should be taken on your behalf.
- Health Care Proxy: This allows you to designates someone to make important health decisions on your behalf.
- Power of Attorney: This authorizes someone you trust to handle important financial matters if you are incapacitated.
These estate planning documents are important as they take the burden of decision making off your family and prevents them from having to guess what you would have wanted.
In the Event You Need Long Term Care
A trust is an important tool in estate planning which can supplement your will in making distributions to friends and family members. It can also be used as part of Medicaid planning, to help ensure you are eligible for any long term care services you may eventually need.
Let Us Help You Today
At Cavallo & Cavallo, we can help you put the proper estate planning documents in place to protect both you and your loved ones. Call or contact our Bronx & Westchester estate planning attorneys online and request a consultation in our office today.