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Additional documents in estate planning

People in New York who are in the process of planning their estates may need more than a will or a trust. It is also important to think about their health care and finances in the event that they become incapacitated.

Under a power of attorney, the principal appoints a trusted person to handle finances in the event the principal becomes incapacitated. It might go into effect after the principal becomes incapable of making decisions, or it might go into effect immediately. A health care proxy may also be needed. It appoints people to make health care decisions. A person may also want a living will because it explains how end-of-life care should be handled. Before they are incapacitated, people should discuss their medical wishes with loved ones who will be in charge of making these decisions.

People may also want to appoint someone to take care of their electronic accounts. This may including giving someone access to email, social media accounts and documents stored in the crowd among other items.

Putting these documents together can be complex, and a person may want the assistance of an attorney. State and federal laws may change in ways that affect these documents, and people should periodically review and update their estate plans to account for these changes as well as changes in assets and family situations. Despite putting things in writing, open communication is also key to making sure one's wishes are carried out. While loved ones may not want to have a conversation about a person's death or end-of-life care, when the time comes, understanding a person's wishes and why certain decisions were made might make the time less difficult. Adults of all ages and stages of life should consider putting together an estate plan because even the healthiest people can become unexpectedly ill or have an accident.

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