A will is an important legal document you need in your estate plan, but it shouldn’t be the only one. It’s important to understand the other types of documents necessary to protect you and your family during both your lifetime and after your death.
Important Documents in Your Estate Plan
Estate planning involves both planning for the distribution of your assets to your family and others when you die and planning for your own physical and/or mental care while you’re alive. Some of the documents you may need for a comprehensive estate plan include:
- A will. Your will states how you want your property distributed after you die. You can also designate a guardian for your minor children and an executor who will be responsible for following your wishes in your will.
- A trust. In a trust, a trustee manages and distributes property of the trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries. During your lifetime, you may be the trustee and beneficiary. After your death, your assets in the trust can be distributed to your loved ones without the need to go through probate court. There are other trusts for special family situations, such as a trust for minor children who are beneficiaries of a will or trust and a special needs trust for disabled beneficiaries who you want to provide for without jeopardizing their disability benefits.
- A durable power of attorney. In a durable power of attorney, you can appoint a family member or another person to handle your financial matters should you become physically or mentally incapacitated.
- A living will. In New York, a living will is a document directing health care. In this legal document, you can state your end-of-life wishes regarding medical care if you are unable to communicate them at that time.
- A health care proxy. A health care proxy allows you to appoint someone to make your medical decisions if you are incapacitated and cannot make them for yourself.
Our Experienced Estate Planning Attorneys Are Here to Help
If you need to create or update your estate plan, Renata Landskind, Esq. and Terence J. Ricaforte, Esq. are here to discuss your family situation, listen to your concerns, and assist you in creating a comprehensive estate plan that is tailor-made to fit your needs. We have helped many clients in New York City, Stanton Island, Queens, and Long Island with estate planning. To get started, call our office today.