and Your Family
Queens Elder Law
Estate planning is more than writing a last will and testament or a trust. Estate planning is also preparing for your financial and personal future, including your needs as you age. The legal area that is the focus on the special legal needs for older individuals is referred to as elder law. Elder care and estate planning are intricately related as both involve planning for your future well-being. The time to contemplate your options for ensuring that you enjoy the best possible quality of life in your senior years is to start to plan as early as possible. Later in life you may need to change your living arrangement and move into a assisted living facility. Even if you remain at home, you may find that you need help with personal care as well as handling your finances. To help you understand the intricacies of elder law and estate planning, contact an experienced Queens elder law lawyer who can help you develop a comprehensive plan for the future.Living will
A devastating illness can strike at any time. However, you are more likely to suffer a medical condition that will impact your mental capacity such as Alzheimer's, other types of dementia or a stroke. When creating a living will you plan for the possibility that at some point the future you may be mentally incapacitated.
A living will is a legal document in which you document your choices regarding your medical treatment and care should you become incapacitated and are unable to express your wishes. Living wills detail the type of medical treatment and life-prolonging measures you want or do not want. For example, your living will might specify which if any life-sustaining treatment or measures you want such as CPR or artificial nutrition.Durable power of attorney
As an experienced elder law attorney in New York will explain, a durable power of attorney is another document that can be part of your advance health care directive. A power of attorney allow you to give another person, referred to as your attorney-in-fact or agent, to made decisions for you while you are incapacitated. You may give your attorney-in-fact the authority to make financial decisions for you, heath care decisions for your or both.
It is up to you to decide what authority to give your attorney-in-fact. For financial decisions, you can very specific as to what authority you chose to give your attorney-in-fact. For example, with a power of attorney for financial matters, you can grant someone the authority to:
- Buy or sell real estate
- Manage your brokerage account
- Manage your bank account
- Run your small business
- Buy insurance for you
- Manage your retirement benefits or military benefits
- Provide financial support to your spouse and children
- Pay taxes
With a power of attorney for healthcare, examples of the authority you can grant your attorney-in-fact include:
- Consent to or refuse consent to any care, treatment, or service
- Make arrangements for hospitalization, hospice care, psychiatric treatment, nursing home, or assisted living
- Make decisions about autopsy, tissue donation, and organ donation
Make sure you discuss with you elder law attorney in Queens who you plan to name as your attorney-in-fact. You can name the same person to be your agent for health care and for finances. However, it is important to make sure that person is qualified to fill both roles. Otherwise, it may be a good idea to name separate agents. In both cases, the person you name in the durable power of attorney must act in your best interest. Furthermore, that person or persons must keep your interests separate from his or her own. For example, your agent must not commingle your funds with his or her own in a single bank account.Will and trust
Of course your will is an important part of planning for the future. Along with your will, a trust is an important means for you to leave assets to you family, friends, and charities. An important difference between a will and a trust is that a will must go through probate before assets are distributed to your beneficiaries. A trust does not go through probate. This means that your beneficiaries will receive the assets a lot quicker.Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates
To learn more about the how to protect your assets, how to plan for your long term care, how to plan for possible future mental incapacity and how to plan for the future of your family members, contact the elder law attorneys serving Queens at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates. We will help you understand the documents that will help ensure that your goals are achieved, the benefits of an overall estate plan, as well as the pitfalls associated with probate. Contact us at 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.