While most people will focus on how estate planning will affect your loved ones after you pass away, the truth is that certain aspects of estate planning, like advance directives, can have a major impact while you are still alive. Not only can advance directives (like a power of attorney, health care proxy, or living will) help protect your interests, they can minimize the problems your loved ones must deal with if you ever become incapacitated or otherwise unable to care for yourself. Here are five ways advance directives can benefit your loved ones:

  1. Your loved ones will not need to seek out a guardianship
    • When someone becomes incapacitated without advance directives in place, such as a power of attorney or health care proxy, it may become necessary to seek a guardianship over them. This is a complicated and potentially costly process that will be directed by the court, rather than by you. Your loved ones would almost certainly prefer your fate to be in your own hands, rather than being put at the mercy of the legal system.
  2. You will be cared for by someone trustworthy
    • As part of your advance directives, you can designate certain people to have the authority to make legal, financial, or medical decisions on your behalf. Because they are selected by you, your loved ones can have confidence that you have faith in whoever is selected to care for your needs. That can put their mind at ease, knowing they do not need to worry about who is handling your personal affairs.
  3. They will be able to handle any issues that arise
    • Advance directives like a power of attorney and health care proxy exist to allow people to make important decisions on your behalf. This is essential on a day-to-day basis, but it can be even more crucial if an emergency arises. With proper advance directives, problems like unexpected expenses or sudden medical emergencies can be handled quickly and easily.
  4. They can avoid unnecessary litigation
    • Without advance directives in place, nearly every aspect of your care may become the subject of litigation. This includes disputes over who should care for you, or what should be done in the event of a medical, legal, or financial crisis. Advance directives can avoid much of this litigation, creating clarity and making it harder for anyone to abuse the legal process to your detriment.
  5. They can be confident they are respecting your wishes
    • Finally, even if you become incapacitated, advance directives like a living will can make it clear to your loved ones that your wishes are being respected. Regardless of your mental or physical state, you deserve to be treated the way you would want to be, and advance directives can help ensure that. Your loved ones, in turn, will be happy knowing they are doing what you would want them to do.

            The elder law attorneys at David J. Lorber & Associates, PLLC will thoroughly analyze your estate and work with you to determine the best means of transferring your assets, minimizing taxes, and ensuring your needs are met. For comprehensive estate planning services in New York, call David J. Lorber & Associates, PLLC at (631) 750-0900 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at our Setauket office.

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