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Estate planning involves more than wills and trusts

Estate planning is a subject many New York residents like to avoid -- not realizing that taking care of it sooner rather than later can provide peace of mind to parents and their children. However, professional guidance is necessary to explain the different aspects. Estate planning is not only about trusts and wills. One should combine those instruments with powers of attorney for coverage in the event of the person becoming incapacitated.

A financial power of attorney is appointed to make business and other finance-related decisions on behalf of the principal, and designating a health care power of attorney is equally important. That person will have decision-making authority when it comes to any medical issues. The principal can document predetermined wishes for health and medical situations that might arise.

In the event of the principal's inability to communicate choices and preferences about health care, a power of attorney can convey the decisions to reject or accept particular procedures. This could include medications, surgeries and other treatments, and a physician will know whether to allow resuscitation or life support. The health care power of attorney's authority will continue after the principal's death because the appointed person can deal with autopsies, the donation of organs or the decedent's body for medicine, science or education.

Anyone in New York can use estate planning to ensure that he or she will remain in charge even if disabled. However, choosing powers of attorney must be done with care. An attorney who is experienced in estate planning and guiding individuals through the establishment of wills and trusts can also ensure appropriate matters are considered when powers of attorney are named.

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