___ POWER OF ATTORNEY
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that designates someone to handle your financial and legal affairs during your life, particularly in event of incapacity.
___ HEALTH CARE PROXY
A Health Care Proxy is a legal document that permits you to name an agent to make health care decisions for you if you cannot do so yourself and discusses your end-of-life decisions.
___ LIVING WILL
A Living Will is a legal document that discusses your end-of-life decisions. A Living Will is recognized in most states, whereas a Health Care Proxy is a New York State statutory document and may not be accepted in some states.
___ LAST WILL & TESTAMENT AND/OR TRUST
A Last Will and Testament is a legal document that permits you to designate who will inherit your assets after your death and names an executor to carry out your bequests. If you have minor children, a Last Will and Testament can also name an individual to be the guardian of your children. A trust is a legal contract that creates a relationship between trustee(s) and beneficiaries and can be created during your life or after your death. Trusts are used for many purposes such as Medicaid planning, estate tax planning, avoiding probate, managing assets, etc. A trust will hold property that you choose to put in the trust and the trustee(s) manage the property (invest, sell, etc.). A trust can also act as a vehicle to pass your assets to your chosen beneficiaries upon your death.
___ DISCUSS YOUR WISHES
Consider having a discussion about your wishes with your appointed agents and family. A discussion will help ensure that your wishes are followed and your agents and family will be better prepared to make these important decisions. They will know what you want and not be left with the pressure in making a decision without your guidance.
___ ORGANIZE YOUR FINANCIAL & LEGAL DOCUMENTS
If your family needs to access your financial and legal documents in an emergency, will they be able to find them? Organize your documents and let your family know where to find them in the event of an emergency. Consider keeping a list of the banks that you do business with, your doctors and your medications.