Creating an estate plan is oftentimes not high on people’s priority lists in New York and elsewhere. However, these plans are essential for helping them to protect their assets long term. When it comes to creating estate plans, writing wills is not enough; other documents also needed to be included in these plans for them to be truly effective.
Depending on an old-fashioned will is one of the most common mistakes made in estate planning. A comprehensive estate plan also includes other critical documents that an individual may need before he or she passes, such as an advanced medical directive or power of attorney. These legal documents empower others to make important decisions on the individual’s behalf as well as to take actions concerning his or her medical care or assets when he or she can no longer do this.
Without these legal documents, several actions will not be taken until a court has appointed somebody to act for the individual. Unfortunately, this appointee may not necessarily be who the individual would have wanted. Likewise, physicians might make decisions that they feel is best for the individual, not necessarily what the patient would have desired.
Wills are certainly helpful in the event of the deaths of asset owners, but the other legal documents come in handy in the event of health crises, such as strokes or accidents. They also are helpful when someone is experiencing a gradual decline in health but may be in denial about it. The sooner that these documents are created with the help of a qualified attorney in New York, the more likely an individual is to avoid being taken advantage of financially or to have his or her assets end up in unintended hands.
Source: forbes.com, “7 Big Estate Planning Mistakes“, Bob Carlson, Feb. 21, 2018