Contemplating one’s own passing, and the consequent need for estate planning, is not a particularly pleasant endeavor. However, a robust estate plan both protects your wishes and helps safeguard the future of your loved ones. Passing away without an estate plan in place can mean your assets and property do not go to those you intended, compounding your already grieving family and loved ones.
Our Manhattan estate planning attorney at The Browne Firm can help you build or augment your estate plan and determine what happens to your belongings once you pass away. In addition to being experienced in drafting last wills and testaments, we can also assist in other areas of estate planning. We provide legal services in establishing advanced healthcare directives, for example, which can outline legally enforceable instructions for medical care and end-of-life treatment should you become incapacitated and unable to make your own decisions.
To start building your estate plan, call The Browne Firm at (914) 290-5622 or contact us online. Our team can review your situation and goals and walk you through your options.
Establishing Wills & Trusts
A properly formalized last will and testament or trust can give you the peace of mind that your property will be distributed amongst your beneficiaries in accordance with your wishes. Trusts and wills handle this task differently, however, and our team at The Browne Firm can help guide you through the features of each document and help determine which makes sense for you.
Generally speaking, a “living trust” operates while you are still alive, while a last will and testament only functions upon your passing. Trusts give you the opportunity to place assets in the care of a trustee, in theory avoiding any litigation in probate court. However, some types of assets not named in a trust can still find themselves in probate, and without a will validating the terms of your trust, some of your assets may end up being subject to state law instead of being distributed as you intended.
Such a scenario illustrates why retaining the services of an experienced estate planning attorney is essential to protecting your future. Our legal team at The Browne Firm can make sure the entirety of your estate is covered and strategize to limit the likelihood of your assets entering probate.
Establishing an Advanced Health Directive
Some do not realize that estate planning is not only meant to protect the wishes of those who have passed away. A strong estate plan includes numerous legal documents that benefit you while you are alive, including powers of attorney, living wills, medical privacy forms, and advanced healthcare directives. Many of these mechanisms help inform your loved ones and healthcare professionals on how you wish to be treated in the event you are unable to communicate.
The guidance in these documents can be critical in the event of an unanticipated incapacitation, like one incurred in a vehicular collision, so it is important to be proactive in formalizing them as part of your estate plan. Other scenarios where advanced healthcare directives and other pertinent medical estate plan documents can be essential include comas, debilitating mental illnesses, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. By making these documents part of your estate plan, you relieve the pressure of forcing your family and doctors to guess what you might have wanted.
If you need help understanding your estate planning options, call our Manhattan estate planning lawyer at (914) 290-5622 or contact The Browne Firm online.
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