When and why you need an estate plan


It is important to understand when and why you need an estate plan.

If nothing else, the recent pandemic has taught us the need to have our affairs in order. Every person over the age of 30 who is married, has children, or has reasonably significant assets should have an estate plan in place. If you do not, New York has one for you in some instances.


An estate plan essential kit includes a will, health care proxy and power of attorney.


The Last Will and Testament is intended to distribute a person’s assets to those persons he or she chooses. It also appoints an executor to manage the estate. If you do not have a will, the state decides how your assets are distributed, perhaps against your wishes.


A health care proxy designates an individual to make health care decisions on your behalf when you are not able to. The agent can determine where you will live as well as how and when you will be treated medically.


A power of attorney appoints an agent to make legal and financial decisions for you. Most of these decisions occur when you become incapacitated; however, a power of attorney also allows someone to make decisions when you do have the mental capacity, but maybe not the wherewithal to make such decisions.

In order to be prepared for life’s little uncertainties, you should have the basics in place. For many reasons, the basics may not be enough to meet all of your goals. However, in order to determine what is right for you and your needs, you should see an estate planning professional who has the skill and knowledge to assist you with your goals.

Robert K. Hilton, III is an attorney with the law firm of Hilton Estate & Elder Law, LLC, with offices in Utica, Boonville, Rome, Syracuse, Lowville and Gouverneur, NY. He has more than 25 years of legal experience and currently concentrates in estate planning matters, including Wills, Powers of Attorney, Health Care Proxies, Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts, Asset Protection, Nursing Home/Medicaid planning and related litigation issues. He can be reached at 315-624-9600 for free initial, confidential consultation.Visit us on the web at: www.Hiltonlawny.com


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