and Your Family
Staten Island Elder Law
Elder law focuses on traditional estate planning such as creating wills, trusts, and powers of attorney, as well as planning for incapacity and long time term care. In other words, elder care focuses on planning for the very real possibility of needing long-term care and planning for a catastrophic illness. Illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and strokes are not uncommon for the elderly. However, serious illnesses such as Parkinson’s as well as catastrophic injuries suffered in accidents can happen to much younger individuals. The result often means long-term care. Thus the concerns addressed by “elder law” can impact individuals of any age. If you have questions related to ensuring that an elderly or disabled person is properly cared for or that your estate plan addresses planning for future serious illnesses, contact an experienced Staten Island elder law attorney at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.Importance of a will
Arguable, a will is one of the most important document in your estate plan. The primary purpose of a will is to indicate who is to get your property after you pass away. You can choose to leave your property to your family, or you can choose to leave it to nonrelatives such good friends. You can also leave it organizations such as charities that are important to you. While there are other ways to transfer your wealth such as a trust and products that have beneficiary designations, there things that a will can do that other documents cannot.
- Avoid intestacy. Having a will is the only way to ensure that all property that is in your probate estate goes to people or organizations of your choosing and that it does not fall intestacy. If you do not have a will, your property will go to your heirs based on the rules of intestate succession.
- Disinherit relatives. In the absence of a will, the law requires that any property left in your probate estate such as personal property, real estate, and bank accounts, will go to your next of kin as defined by the New York Estates, Powers, and Trusts Law. As a Staten Island elder law attorney will explain, the only way to prevent a relative who may be entitled to inherit from inheriting is to write a will that does so,
- Appoint executor. When you pass away, someone must settle your estate. This occurs during probate and involves gathering and securing your property, paying your bills, settling claims, and ultimately distributing your assets to your beneficiaries. With a will you can name a trusted relative or friend to do these activities instead of having the court determine who has this responsibility.
Having a financial power of attorney is an important strategy for ensuring that in the event that you become incapacitated due to an accident or illness, someone has the legal authority to ensure that your finances are cared for. With a power of attorney you can appoint someone who can do your banking, pay your business, manage your real estate, and take care of other activities for you. The person you appoint is called your agent. In order for your agent to have the authority to act for you after you become incapacitated, the power of attorney must be durable. Traditional powers of attorney end when the principal becomes incapacitated.Advance healthcare directive
An advance healthcare directive is a set of documents that leave instructions related to your medical care should you become critically ill and are unable to make decisions for yourself. An advance healthcare directive typically includes a living will and a healthcare proxy. A living will allows you to give instructions as to the types of life-sustaining treatments you want to receive should become so critically ill that you are not likely to recover. An elder law attorney in Staten Island will be able to explain the types of medical treatments about which you can leave instructions in your living will.
A healthcare proxy is essentially a durable power of attorney for healthcare. It allows your to give someone else, known as your healthcare agent, the authority to make decisions related to your medical care should you become incapacitated and are unable to speak for yourself.Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates
In addition to a will, durable power of attorney for finances, and advance healthcare directives, there may be other important documents that you need as part of your estate plan to ensure that your goals are achieved such as a trust to protect your assets from the Medicare spend down. The experienced elder law attorneys serving Staten Island at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience representing clients in matters related to planning for incapacity, asset protection, trust creation, and will drafting. Contact us at 800-696-9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Staten Island, Queens, Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Suffolk County, and Westchester County.