While some people in New York may assume that only the extremely wealthy need to engage in estate planning, this assumption is false. Everyone should take the time to carefully plan for the resolution of their estate to ensure that their desires are carried out, should they be unable to manage their estate after experiencing a severe injury or illness.
According to a recent article, there are four documents that you should consider drawing up with the help of a lawyer:
- A will. While you might be tempted to use an online resource to build your will to save on expenses, working with someone to construct a modest but effective will is oftentimes essential to making sure that your wishes for your estate are fulfilled. Other important factors to consider when you are drafting a will include providing guardianship for any minors within your care and choosing an executor to carry out the business of your estate after you are no longer capable. Choose these people carefully and make sure that you inform them so they know of your wishes. This could help your executor to preserve assets to your specifications.
- A living will. A living will "specifies in writing your wishes for end-of-life care." Therefore, this document will let your relatives and other loved ones know your final wishes and how to take care of you in an emergency situation. A living will includes factors such as whether you wish to be kept alive on a respiration machine in the case of a crisis.
- Durable Power of Attorney. The person that you choose to hold these power of attorney rights should be someone that you trust to fulfill your wishes for the future of your finances and legal decisions. The person you choose should also have a history of success with managing finances. In addition, make sure to always choose a backup for your estate.
- Medical power of attorney. This document will place someone of your choosing in charge of your medical decisions should you be unable to make them due to severe illness or injury. The person should be someone that remains calm when faced with a crisis.
Taking the time to complete these documents will likely do more than just outline your wishes. It can also make things easier for your loved ones and may be the best gift you can give.
Source: Wall Street Journal, "Four Estate-Planning Document Everyone Should Have," Tom Lauricella, April 20, 2014