WILLS, POA & HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVES
Everyone needs an up-to-date Will and/or Revocable Trust, Power of Attorney and Health Care Directives to deal with unanticipated circumstances. A Will allows you to decide who inherits your property instead of letting New York State decide for you. A Power of Attorney (“POA”) allows someone you trust to handle your financial and property-related matters in the event you are unable to do so yourself. It does not matter if you are incapacitated or just unavailable at the time.
A properly drafted POA will contain additional language that allows your agent to take steps to protect your life savings from long-term care expenses such as nursing home costs.
A Revocable Trust is like a Will and Power of Attorney rolled into a single document. It allows you to avoid probate for assets that are placed in the name of your living trust. You remain in full control of trust assets and income as long as you are alive and competent. If not, your successor agent takes over, manages your trust assets for your and distributes them upon your death as directed in the trust agreement without need for court involvement.
Health Care Directives include a Health Care Proxy by which you appoint an agent to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself and a Living Will Declaration that states in advance your wishes about using or withholding treatment when you are at death’s door.
We recommend that you let us review these documents every ten years so that you can update them to take account of changing circumstances and changes in the law.