Advance Directives in New York and Connecticut
After an individual dies, their estate enters into probate proceedings in which the debts and taxes are paid and then the assets are distributed to the appropriate heirs. In Connecticut, the Probate Court oversees this process, while in New York it falls under the jurisdiction of the Surrogate’s Court. At MayaLaw, our attorneys handle common issues that arise during the estate administration process including:
- Probating Wills
- Assisting in the Collection of Estate Assets
- Dealing with All Creditors
- Preparing Accountings
- Funding Trusts
- Distributing Assets
- Estate Litigation
Part of a comprehensive estate plan is creating advance directives that specify your wishes on a range of matters and ensure that those wishes will be legally enforceable in the event that you are unable to speak for yourself. At MayaLaw, we assist our clients in determining which documents are necessary, and then drafting those documents in accordance with both New York and Connecticut laws to ensure that they will be fully enforceable when the time comes. Three common advance directives we work with clients to create are living wills, powers of attorney, and health care proxies.
The Living Will
A living will is a document that explains what kind of medical treatments an individual would like performed or not performed in specific situations. Unlike a health care proxy, it does not name a specific person to make decisions for you, but rather outlines your wishes. Often this is used to clarify end of life decisions. Whether or not you need a living will is a personal decision that should reflect your convictions about the way you would like these situations handled. While you may not think one is necessary, it is also a good idea to consider the feelings and concerns of your loved ones, as it may make it easier for them if they have a clear idea of what you would like to be done.
Powers of Attorney
There are different types of powers of attorney. In general, a power of attorney gives another person the ability to make decisions and handle your affairs for you. A durable power of attorney gives another individual that power immediately and is effective in the event that you are incapacitated. Other powers of attorney are more limited in scope, either in the powers given to the other person and/or the timespan for which they are intended.
The Health Care Proxy
It is a good idea for everyone to have a health care proxy, regardless of age or general health. A health care proxy names another person to make health care decisions for you in the event that you cannot speak for yourself or are otherwise incapacitated. It is a good idea to choose a person you trust and speak to them about your wishes. Once you have determined that this is the best choice, you can draft the appropriate documents. This will ensure that your wishes are followed and that the weight of making health decisions is not a burden to your loved ones at an already difficult time.
If you are interested in drafting any of these documents or just have more questions on this topic, contact us today. The attorneys at MayaLaw have the experience you need in an attorney handling such important issues. We serve clients throughout New York and Connecticut, including those in Fairfield, Westport, Stamford, and Fairfield County.