Mullen and Iannarone, P.C.
Serving the legal needs of corporations, individuals and
families of Suffolk County since 1972

Handling estate planning

People in New York should consider an estate plan with the appropriate legal documents in place so that any financial or healthcare decisions made on their behalf are done according to their preferences. Having an estate plan is not only about planning for assets but also accounting for if an individual is incapacitated and unable to make decisions on their own.

Estate planning should begin as soon as possible, particularly if it is for an elderly person. One of the ideal times to begin estate planning is when one turns 18 years old. Someone who becomes incapacitated without an estate plan makes it more complicated for their family to get the authority to make healthcare and financial decisions on their behalf.

The first step in estate planning can be choosing a healthcare power of attorney. With the authority granted to them by an advance health care directive, legal will, durable power of attorney for healthcare or healthcare proxy, the designated individual will make medical decisions, typically in situations in which someone is near death. The person who has been given the healthcare power of attorney has the right to take certain steps to see to it that the wishes of their loved one are implemented.

An attorney who practices estate planning law may advise clients about what legal documents should be included in their estate plans to ensure that assets are managed according to their wishes and that provisions are in place in the event they become incapacitated. Depending on a client's assets, goals and preferences, different types of wills or trusts may be recommended. For example, the attorney may explain how living wills may be useful.

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