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A Will Alone Does Not an Estate Plan Make

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Perhaps you’re one of the responsible and thoughtful individuals who have taken the time to create a will, providing for your heirs and the causes most important to you after you pass away. While a will is critically important, it is far from the only document you need to have in place as you enter your later years. Read on to learn about the other decisions you should make, and their accompanying  documents, to ensure that you have created a complete estate plan, and speak with an attorney about ensuring that you are fully prepared should serious injury, disability, or death suddenly strike.

What will happen if you’re unable to communicate after an accident?

If you’re in an advanced age, you’ve likely already come to terms with the fact that sudden and serious illness such as a stroke or fall could leave you incapacitated, even if only briefly. However, even if you’re younger and in good health, don’t forget that incapacity can strike at any time. In order to ensure that your wishes regarding your physical care are carried out when you’re unable to express them yourself, be sure you have documents in place that explain how you would like your care to look, and the person you wish to make decisions about your care on your behalf.

In order to accomplish these things in New York, you must create two documents: a health care proxy and a living will. A health care proxy allows you to select someone you trust to make health care decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so. A living will allows you to leave specific instructions on the sort of medical treatments you do or do not wish to receive while you are incapacitated.

Who will care for your children and look after your affairs if you and your spouse are incapacitated?

If you are a parent, it is important that you select a guardian who will care for your children if you or your spouse becomes unable to do so. If you did not designate someone you wished to act as a guardian (other than your spouse) in your will, then you should choose someone you trust to serve in this role. Likewise, in order to know that your financial affairs are looked after, consider creating a financial power of attorney document, allowing you to choose an advisor or trusted friend to make financial decisions on your behalf. In order to ensure that these responsibilities are carried out according to your desires, it is important to work closely with an experienced estate planning attorney to create the financial power of attorney tailored to your own needs and desires.

For assistance with your estate planning needs in New York, contact the knowledgeable and seasoned Poughkeepsie estate planning lawyers at Van DeWater & Van DeWater for a consultation at 845-243-5214. 

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