Legal Documents Every Older Person Should Possess
Understanding what an elderly person wants with respect to end of life and other medical and financial decisions is important for caretakers. By having key legal documents in place in advance, an individual’s wishes can be respected and their assets protected even when they are no longer able to advocate for themselves. These documents can range from estate planning tools to medical decision making directives.
Wills and Trusts
Often the first estate planning tool individuals put into place for their later years are documents describing how their assets including their possessions, bank accounts, and real estate, will be distributed upon their death. A Will can be used to designate the beneficiaries of one’s estate. Some individuals set up revocable living trusts, which allow an individual to transfer assets into an account during their lifetime which will be distributed to named beneficiaries after their death. By using a trust, individuals often can avoid time-consuming and expensive probate proceedings. Trust information also remains private, which can be appealing to individuals who do not want their assets disclosed to the public upon their death.
A major concern for the elderly is their continued ability to make their own health decisions. Though the use of medical directives, including advanced directives or living wills, individuals can set forth their specific wishes should they no longer be able to legally make their own health decisions. Some of the most common issues addressed in medical directives involve the use of artificial life support such as ventilators or feeding tubes and the designation of a certain hospital or nursing home as the preferred place of medical treatment.
Powers of Attorney
Not every circumstance can be foreseen by an elderly person during the estate planning process. There may be a need to make a financial or healthcare decision that was not anticipated or addressed through the use of a will or medical directive. In these situations, the use of a durable power of attorney can be especially helpful. Under a durable power of attorney, another individual can act on the elderly person’s behalf after they become incapacitated. This remains in effect until death. Powers of attorneys also avoid the need for a court to appoint a conservator or guardian at the time of incapacitation. Seniors can designate separate health care and financial powers of attorney giving different individuals the ability to make decisions in those specific areas. Many individuals prefer to give their financial power of attorney to a licensed fiduciary company instead of a relative or named beneficiary.
Obtaining Legal Assistance
Unhappy beneficiaries sometimes challenge a loved one’s wishes after their death. Elderly individuals should hire an experience elder law attorney to draft all legal documents including wills, medical directives, powers of attorney, and revocable trusts to ensure their enforceability.
Brooklyn Elder Law Lawyers at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP Handle Estate Planning Needs
If you need assistance with the drafting of these important legal documents, the experienced Brooklyn elder law lawyers at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP are ready to assist you. Our dedicated elder law litigation attorneys handle a wide range of elder law issues including those relating to wills, revocable living trusts, pooled trusts, executorships, guardianships, and durable powers of attorney. With offices conveniently located in Brooklyn, New York and Lakewood, New Jersey, we proudly serve senior citizens and their families throughout Manhattan, Long Island, and Westchester, New York. To schedule an initial consultation with an experienced Brooklyn elder law lawyer today, call us at 212-495-8133 or submit an online inquiry form.