What Legal Documents Should Be Included in a Yonkers Estate Plan?

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Creating a thorough estate plan is important, and working with an estate planning attorney is a crucial part of ensuring that your estate plan matches your needs and achieves your goals. What needs to be included in an estate plan varies depending on the individual and the type of assets they have in their estate, but there are some key estate planning tools and documents that most people can benefit from.

Get tailored legal advice on what your estate plan should include and how to ensure your estate is protected when you work with the team at the Law Offices of Joseph A. Marra, PLLC. We’re here to provide the support you need when creating or managing your estate plan.

A Last Will and Testament

A last will and testament is arguably the most important piece of your estate plan. Its primary function is to name an executor of the estate and specify how you want your assets distributed among your beneficiaries. The executor is in charge of taking a full inventory of the estate, paying off any creditors, and ensuring the beneficiaries receive their inheritances as specified in the will. It’s important to ensure that your will meets the specifications outlined in New York law. This generally requires that the will be written, be signed by the creator, and have two witnesses.

A Living Will

Many people think of estate planning as something that is only important after you die, but estate planning can also help you ensure your wishes are known and followed if you are incapacitated in an accident or otherwise unable to make decisions for yourself. A living will provides your healthcare team and loved ones with a thorough explanation of what kind of medical treatment you prefer.

This can generally include anything you want it to, but it normally specifies whether you want to be resuscitated, what life-saving measures you prefer, and what your goals are for medical treatment. For example, one person may prefer to be kept as comfortable as possible, while another may prefer to avoid strong pain medications even if it means more discomfort.

Power of Attorneys

A power of attorney gives another person the ability to make decisions on your behalf, and there are several types to be aware of. A healthcare power of attorney allows another person to make medical decisions for you and provides them legal access to all of your medical records. A financial power of attorney is another common option, which gives another person decision-making power regarding your finances. Someone with a financial power of attorney can put money in your accounts, take money out, pay bills, write checks, and manage investments.

A power of attorney can be durable or nondurable. A durable power of attorney remains in place even if you are incapacitated. A nondurable power of attorney does not. This is an important distinction to be aware of because there may be situations where you are fine with someone having control over your financial accounts while you are aware of what’s going on but don’t want that person to have the same power if you are incapacitated. An estate planning lawyer can explain each of these options in more detail to ensure you make decisions that work for your situation.

Other Estate Planning Tools

Other estate planning tools like life insurance policies, trusts, and transfer-on-death designation can help you create a well-rounded estate plan that serves your needs. Life insurance policies can ensure that your loved ones have the funds they need to take care of burial expenses, pay off debt, and continue to live a comfortable life after you’re gone. Trusts help beneficiaries get their inheritances faster by avoiding probate and give you more control over how assets are distributed. Transfer-on-death designations can also help you bypass probate and simplify estate planning.

Call 914-344-5145 to speak to a member of the team at the Law Offices of Joseph A. Marra, PLLC. Our attorney can talk with you about your estate planning goals and help you create an estate plan that reflects your needs and provides you with peace of mind.

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