What is a Will?
Wills, sometimes known as a “last will and testament” is a document that outlines your final wishes. Wills are reviewed by a county probate court following your passing and the court makes sure your final requests are fulfilled. Usually, wills specify where your assets will go after your death. Specific wishes can be included such as:
- A guardian appointment if your children are minors.
- Clarify how your debts and estate taxes will be paid.
- Where possessions such as your property, car, or special collection will go.
The Importance of Wills, Health Care Proxy, and Power of Attorney
Many do not understand the importance of wills and assume their assets will automatically go to their immediate loved ones in a simple process. Unfortunately, this is not true.
If there is no will, the laws of your state will determine how your assets get distributed. As a result, the process may not follow your preferred requests. Without a will, the court will have to appoint a person to help execute your estate. Preparing a will allows you to name an executor and guardians for your minor children that you choose yourself.
A health care proxy is an important document that all adults should have in place. If you were ever to become ill or incapacitated, a health care proxy allows you to choose an “agent” to make medical decisions for you. It also allows you to proclaim if you would like to use life sustaining procedures such as respirators or feeding tubes. A health care proxy allows you to indicate your own medical choices before an urgent need arises.
Preparing a Power of Attorney is another essential document to have completed. This document allows a person or persons you choose to handle your finances if you should become incapacitated, including paying bills or making investment decisions. This document can be specific to only one or a few of these duties or include all financial decisions that may have to be made, according to your own particular wishes.
Joint and Beneficiary Accounts
These seemingly simple estate planning strategies can be complicated, which is why it is best to consult an experienced estate planning lawyer, such as Ward Arcuri Foley & Dwyer, to clarify any questions and concerns you may have and to be sure these documents are drafted and signed in accordance with New York State Laws.
Frequently Asked Questions
Have questions about wills and estate planning? These frequently asked questions have answers that may help you. Always feel free to contact us to set up a time when you will be able to discuss any questions or concerns you have with us here at Ward Arcuri Foley & Dwyer.