If you haven't done so already, the moment that you find out that you're expecting a child, you should start thinking about estate planning. One decision to make is whom you will appoint as your child's guardian if something were to happen to you while they are still a minor. There are several factors you should consider when selecting whom you want to appoint to this role.
When a testator drafts a will, they're supposed to detail all of the assets that they own and what their final wishes are as it relates to who they'd like to become the new owner of them. Heirs often don't find out if they're set to receive any of the estate's remaining assets until once the testator has died. By the time they find out what their final wishes were, they're often blindsided by hearing that they're not set to receive anything.
Article 81 of New York's Mental Hygiene Law describes an incapacitated person as being anyone who struggles to take care of his or her financial affairs or property. In instances where it can be proven that they're unable to do this, the state allows for a guardian to be appointed to oversee the handling of these matters for them.
Many think that they can simply go online and learn how to do virtually anything. They tend to think that everything that they find there is written by someone who's qualified to speak authoritatively about it. This is far from the case though,especially when it comes to legal documents, like a will.
While adults of any age can benefit from starting estate planning sooner than later, many wait until they have kids, get divorced, remarried or for other transitional stages in their lives before they begin. If there's anyone that shouldn't wait to plan their estate, parents of special needs children top on the list.
For most, one of the first thoughts that goes through an individual's mind when they consider estate planning is drafting their will or some other end-of-life document that relays their final wishes. Many don't realize that it also includes making plans for how your minor or special needs children are going to be cared for once you're gone or how you intend to preserve your assets.
Coming up with a plan to divide up assets such as jewelry, artwork, or family heirlooms in your will can be hard if you don't know what something is or what it's worth. What you may hold near and dear may be starkly different from the items someone else values. One way to ensure that your wishes for these items are honored is for you to address them in your estate plan.
One of the first decisions that you'll have to make during the estate planning process is deciding who you want to serve as executor. While you may be inclined to appoint a family member to this role, doing so can sometimes cause more harm than good. Some may choose to appoint a good friend, attorney or financial planner, depending on their jurisdiction's laws. Whomever you choose should have certain attributes.
The time comes in one's life when a will is necessary. Don't wait until this moment to run frantically to your attorney's office to have this important legal document drafted. It will likely be too late. Let's take a look at the milestones in life that should trigger a review of your will so that it is always updated for where you are in life right now.
As minors, our parents retain the decision-making power over choices regarding our health, but as soon as most of us turn 18, this ability goes out of the window. As adults, the decision becomes ours alone to decide whether we pursue certain treatment options and what ones those are unless we have a health care power of attorney (H-POA) drafted for us.