A last will is a legal document that can be used to facilitate asset transfers after you pass away. If you create a last will, you have covered one of your bases, but there are some other things to take into consideration when you are planning your estate.
Taking care of the things that will happen after you pass away will be part of the process, but you should also address end-of-life issues. Elders often become incapacitated, and you should take action to prepare for this possibility in advance.
If you do nothing to prepare for incapacity, a guardianship hearing could be convened, and the state could ultimately appoint someone to manage your affairs.
When it comes to medical decision-making, your closest relative would be asked to make decisions on your behalf. This can be a difficult position to be placed in, and family members may not always agree with regard to the best course of action.
You could take the matter into your own hands through the execution of certain legally binding documents. With a durable power of attorney, you could name someone to manage your financial affairs in the event of your incapacitation.
Another option would be the creation of a revocable living trust. If you convey your assets into a revocable living trust, you could empower a successor or disability trustee to administer the trust for you if you were to become incapacitated.
A health care proxy could also be part of the plan. With this document, you name an agent or attorney-in-fact. The person that you choose would be empowered to make health care decisions on your behalf if you ever become unable to communicate them on your own.
Your incapacity plan should also include a living will. This type of will is used to record your preferences regarding the utilization of life-sustaining measures.
Nursing Home Asset Protection
Medicare does not pay for long-term care, and most seniors will need it, so you should take steps in advance to protect the inheritances that you intend to leave to your loved ones. Medicaid does pay for long-term care, so many senior seek eligibility late in their lives.
It is possible to essentially give your loved ones their inheritances in advance so that you can qualify for Medicaid, but this takes careful planning, because the rules are complex.
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If you have questions about the estate planning documents that you need, our firm can provide answers. We offer free consultations, and we would be glad to provide you with personalized attention.
To set up an appointment, send us a message through our contact page: Smithtown NY Estate Planning Attorneys.