Whether it is due to age, an illness, or an accident, you may find that you are not able to manage your own affairs. Even though it may be uncomfortable to think about such a possibility, it is wise to plan for it. To plan for this possibility, it is a good idea to have estate planning tools such as an advance health care directive, trust, or power of attorney in place so that both your financial and healthcare affairs are managed according to your wishes. In the absence of such directives, the court may step in and place you in a conservatorship where a court appointed conservator will manage your affairs, including your finances and medical care. NY MHY LAW § 81.06. To learn about the estate planning steps that you should consider taking now to ensure that your wishes are followed should you become incapacitated, contact a Queens conservatorships lawyer who will be able to help you develop a comprehensive estate plan consistent with your goals.Conservators
In general, a court will appoint a family member to act as your conservator. However, if there is no suitable family member available, the court may appoint a stranger. The conservator will remain in place as long as the court determines that he or she is needed. If your medical condition improves enough so that you are able to resume taking care of your affairs, the court will end the conservatorship. NY MHY LAW § 81.36. Otherwise, conservatorships remain in place until the conservatees pass away.
A conservator can be appointed to take care of your finances or to take care or your day-to-day well-being. In many cases, particularly if you are incapacitated, a conservator is appointed to handle both your finances and your well-being. Referred to as a "conservator of the person," a conservator who is appointed to make decisions about your personal well-being will make decisions about your housing, healthcare, and other aspects of your personal care.
As a Queens conservatorships attorney can explain, a "conservator of the estate" makes decisions not about your health, but about your finances. He or she will manage your assets, pay your bills, make investments, and collect income. The court will require the conservator of the estate to keep detailed financial records and regularly report to the court about the status of your finances. Using advanced planning, you can execute a springing durable power of attorney to appoint someone you trust to handle your finances should you become incapacitated.Avoiding court appointed conservatorships
The best way to avoid a court-appointed conservatorship and to make sure your wishes are followed is to have an advanced health care directive (AHCD). With an AHCD you can give detailed instructions about your healthcare wishes in a living will as well as appoint an attorney-in-fact on a durable power of attorney to make healthcare decisions on your behalf.
Durable Power of Attorney. A power of attorney allows you grant to another person, known as your "agent" or "attorney-in-fact" power to act on your behalf with respect to financial or healthcare matters. Typically, a power of attorney terminates if you become incapacitated. However, a durable power of attorney remains in effect even if you become incapacitated, but as with other types of powers of attorney will terminate upon your death. NY GOB LAW § 5-1501A. A durable power of attorney can give very broad or very specific powers to the attorney-in-fact. In drafting your durable power of attorney you have a great deal of flexibility in granting and limiting the power of your attorney-in-fact. To ensure that your power of attorney is properly drafted and executed, contact a conservatorship attorney in Queens for assistance.
Living Will. Having a living will is another way to avoid a count appointed conservatorship. A living will is a legal document in which you state your preferences regarding your medical care in the event you become incapacitated and are unable to speak for yourself. Living wills detail the type of medical treatment and life-sustaining measures you want or do not want.Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates
A comprehensive estate plan will not only prepare you and your family in the event you become incapacitated due to illness or accident, it will also make sure that your goals are achieved once you pass away. To learn more about steps you should take to avoid the possibility of conservatorship, contact the conservatorships attorneys serving Queens at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates. We will help you understand the rules associated with conservatorships, the benefits of an overall estate plan, as well as the pitfalls associated with probate. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.