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New York Elder Law Attorney Blog

Estate planning should create benefits not burdens

The reasons people choose to create an estate plan can differ from person to person. In many cases, individuals want to leave behind certain assets for their family members or other loved ones and work to have their affairs in order. However, it may be prudent to know that even after estate planning, issues with the execution of the plan could occur.

If New York parents want to leave property to their children, they may divide their assets and indicate who should receive what items or funds. While this may seem like a typical and beneficial gesture, if those children are not emotionally prepared or do not have the skills to handle a considerable inheritance, they may quickly lose those funds. They may also face other issues such as making bad investments with the money that could leave them worse off.

Choosing trusts and trustees are important planning decisions

Because there are many options for estate planning, New York residents may want to ensure that they give these various tools their due consideration. For instance, some parties may find that trusts could greatly help their plans in numerous ways. Of course, after deciding on a trust, individuals also need to make additional decisions, such as who should be named as trustee.

Choosing the right trustee can be as important of a decision as choosing the right trust. The trustee will be the individual who ensures that the terms of the trust are carried out properly. Trustees have a considerable amount of power due to controlling the assets in the trust, and because of that, individuals will certainly want to choose someone responsible and trustworthy.

Overcoming misconceptions about powers of attorney

No one likes to think that there may come a time when he or she is unable to do routine tasks such as paying bills or making purchases. You may imagine a complete loss of control over your own life, leaving someone else, perhaps a stranger, to handle the money you worked so hard to earn and save. In fact, like many in New York, you may find it easier to convince yourself that such incapacitation will never happen to you.

While it is easy to let your imagination go from one extreme to the other, the better option is to make careful preparations so you will be protected if the worst should happen. You can do this by including a power of attorney in your estate plan.

Long-term care planning could help get finances in order

Whether planning for oneself or trying to help a parent plan, considering long-term care options can have many benefits. Starting early could allow individuals to consider what area services exist and which ones may suit their potential needs. Long-term care planning can also help New York residents determine how they may pay for the necessary expenses associated with this care.

The financial decisions may be one of the biggest concerns that individuals have. Care of any type can prove immensely expensive, and when the care is needed for an extended period of time -- or even for the rest of one's life -- the costs can far exceed the amount of personal funds a person has. Because of this possible issue, parties can often find it helpful to explore insurance options and various benefits programs.

Adult children may be considering their parents' long-term care

Many children think the world of their parents. As they grow older, they may come to realize that their parents are not as invincible as they once thought, however. In fact, there may come a time when a parent needs long-term care, and New York residents may need to make decisions regarding the best way to obtain and pay for that care.

When considering their options, they may need to ask themselves various questions to determine the amount of help their parents may need. For instance, if a parent cannot maintain personal hygiene or walk to various areas of the home without risk of falling, he or she may need constant supervision. Adult children may also want to consider their parents' mental states and if they may exhibit various states of confusion.

Consider long-term care planning sooner rather than later

It is common for people to avoid things that make them uncomfortable or that they do not like for one reason or another. Unfortunately, many New York residents may find themselves avoiding long-term care planning simply because they do not want to fully consider the possibility that they may one day lose the ability to care for themselves. However, this type of situation will affect most everyone.

There are various options individuals could consider when it comes to their long-term care plans. It is not uncommon for parties to utilize nursing home or assisted living facilities when the time for care arrives, but these establishments can be expensive. If people have not planned ahead, they and their families could end up hurting financially due to the costs associated with this type of care. 

A living will could prevent confusion, complications and conflict

It can often prove difficult to bring up sensitive topics with loved ones. When it comes to talking about potentially needing long-term care or what to do in the event of incapacitation, some family members may feel uncomfortable. However, taking the time to have these conversations and to create a living will could help New York residents prevent certain complications.

One major reason that individuals put off having these conversations and making plans is that they think they have more time. Unfortunately, this manner of thinking may leave loved ones facing difficult decisions due to a sudden accident or illness that leaves a family member incapacitated. When care instructions are not clear, loved ones may face confusion, complications and conflict. 

Are you skeptical about needing a living will?

You may have considered yourself a skeptic for most of your life. Whenever someone brought up a topic that supposedly had beneficial applications, you may have found yourself questioning whether those benefits or the topic at hand were even worth considering. As a result, you may often try to do your research before moving forward with any actions.

Having a healthy dose of skepticism in your life does not have to be a bad characteristic. In fact, if it allows you to find out more information on a subject before diving right in, you may actually have a one-up on other individuals. Now that you have begun considering your estate plans, you may wonder whether a living will is necessary or helpful.

Trusts may help preserve assets in New York

Many New York residents may feel that leaving assets to their loved ones will give them a sense of presence and purpose in their family members' lives even after death. While wills can be used to distribute property, directly bequeathing assets may not be the best route. Because individuals can face difficult financial situations, trusts could help protect assets.

Many people who obtain inheritances are grateful for the sudden income. They may want to use it however they choose, but that money could also come under attack in the event that they face creditors or legal action. An inheritance could also potentially be divided in the event of a divorce. Fortunately, a trust may be able to help avoid such situations.

Estate planning more effective with the right information

Creating an estate plan can have its difficulties. After all, New York residents are expected to take every aspect of their lives into consideration and determine how they want their affairs handled after death. That is no simple task. Of course, even after going through the estate planning process, issues with a plan could make it less effective than desired.

An estate plan can consist of any information that a person feels pertinent. This may mean that some parties utilize more or fewer documents than other people. However, it may prove wise for all individuals to at least consider including certain documents, such as a will, power of attorney and an advance medical directive. These documents can help cover after-death wishes as well as wishes in the event of incapacitation.

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