Many New York residents do not have an estate plan set in place due to their single marital status or the belief that their monetary worth is too low. While some people who possess a large number of assets may need extensive trusts, estate planning at its most basic can include just a few documents that determine several key items. These documents could determine the fate of belongings, health care decisions and who should be deemed responsible for an incapacitated individual's finances.
Experts recommend that legal adults obtain the following three documents: a will, a health care power of attorney and a power of attorney for finances. Understandably, other documents may also be necessary depending on a person's unique situation.
One estate planner suggests that these documents should be updated every three to five years in an effort to ensure that the information in these documents is still correct. A change in employment, insurance policies or financial status may require modifications. Individuals are also urged to make alterations to these documents when major life changes take place such as marriage, the birth of a child or a divorce.
There are a variety of legal documents that may apply to someone's situation, and determining the distribution of assets can be complex, especially if there are large amounts of money or property involved. An estate planning attorney could assist someone in setting up a plan that ensures that their health care and finances are taken care of in the event of unexpected circumstances.
Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "3 estate planning documents every adult needs", Nedra Rhone, July 15, 2014