Tuesday, March 17, 2015



What happens if I die without a will?
What happens if I do not have a health 
care proxy or living will?
what happens if I need nursing home care?
What happens if my will gives assets to a disabled child?

1.         Last Will and Testament: A Will is the cornerstone of all estate planning. It is a personal declaration of your intentions about the disposition of your property at death. A will offers many advantages, enabling you to control what happens with your property after you are gone. Everybody should have one. A person who dies without a will dies "intestate." Dying intestate can be unnecessarily costly for your family and the State decides how your property is distributed.

2.         Health Care Proxy and Advance Directives, (aka Living Will): Another extremely important planning document is the Health Care Proxy with Advance Directives. This is New York State’s equivalent to a Living Will. This document authorizes a trusted spouse, family member or friend to instruct health care providers as to your health care wishes should you be unable to do so yourself. Without one, you could end up on artificial life support even if you are brain dead with no chance of recovery and only alternative is the appointment of a legal guardian and that can cost thousands of dollars. (I offer these at no cost to clients purchasing other services)

3.         Durable Power of Attorney: A Power of Attorney authorizes a trusted spouse, family member or friend to handle financial, insurance and personal business matters on your behalf in the event you are unable to do so. In addition, a Durable POA does not terminate if you become incapacitated.

4.         Nursing Home Care and Medicaid Planning: No one wants the government to take their home, investments and savings, everything they have spent their life working for, because of a serious illness or accident. You cannot wait until the life-changing event to shield your assets. You must plan at least 5 years in advance or the most straightforward or most complex asset protections can be worthless.

5.         Disabled Spouse, Child or Grandchild: Leaving assets to a person receiving governmental benefits such as Medicaid and Social Security Disability, is like writing a check to the government. Setting up a Special Needs Trust is a lawful and effective way to provide for a loved one receiving governmental benefits, once you are gone without risking the loss of valuable government benefits.

6.         Revocable and Irrevocable Living Trusts:  These trusts are typically used by wealthier people as asset protection and management vehicles and as a way to avoid probate. These are fairly complex legal documents that need careful consideration of both the pros and the cons.


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