DEFINITIONS AND FORMS
TRUSTS – Trusts are contractual agreements in which a person (a grantor) transfers money or assets to a third party (a trustee) who agrees to hold and manage the property for the benefit of others ( the beneficiaries). The trustee preserves, manages and distributes the property according to the grantor’s directions as they are written in the trust agreement. There are many different kinds of trusts and they can be established while the grantor is alive or after his/her death. They can be used to achieve gift or estate tax savings for the beneficiaries and if properly written, they may also be able to protect the property from beneficiaries’ creditors. Trusts can be quite complex and should only be drafted or interpreted by a licensed attorney.

SPECIAL NEEDS TRUSTS -  Designed to hold and manage property for disabled children and adults without triggering the loss of government benefits.  Many states have adopted rules for creating and administering these trusts. They may be created during a parent’s lifetime or after death. Often, their main purpose is to “supplement” government assistance to disabled beneficiaries. When they are properly drafted, it may be possible for government benefits to remain available to disabled beneficiaries into the future.

ADVANCED DIRECTIVES -  legal documents which allow us to give someone else the authority to act on our behalf while we are alive and to direct in advance of our incapacity or our death, what decision we want made for us and how we want our assets to pass upon our deaths 

HEALTH CARE PROXY (HCP)- It allows you to appoint an agent to make any and all Health care decisions for you if and only if you cannot do yourself. A healthcare proxy  gives someone we trust the ability to make medical decisions for you if because of sickness or injury you lose the capacity to make these decisions yourselves.

POWER OF ATTORNEY – It allows you appoint an agent you trust and give that agent the ability to handle your financial affairs.  It is an extremely complex document. A POA can have one power or many  depending on your needs and wishes. You can also allow your agent to make gifts using your assets, although that requires an extra document known as a Statutory Gifts Rider. At its simplest, a power of attorney allows you to name as many agents as you wish to handle your assets. It is effective only while you are alive.

WILL - At death, we need a will to distribute anything that we own solely in our own name, and without a pre- designated beneficiary at their simplest, they allow you to state who gets an asset when you die and to name an executor who manages the will.  If you have minor children, you need to name a guardian for minors.


 New York Power of Attorney   
     
 Living Will  
     

 Health Care Proxy  
 Certificate of Incorporation  
 Estate Planning Questioner