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Healthy, Wealthy & Wise

Ask the Pros

What is the No. 1 legal document that everyone should have prepared for 2012?

Everyone needs a will in 2012. A new state law in 2011 made it easier for individuals to challenge the validity of a will. Drafting a proper “self-proving” will – with witnesses signing notarized affidavits confirming your identity and soundness of mind and the will’s authenticity – will be beneficial.

Does that document change depending on marital status?

Whether you’re single, married or divorced, having a will (and updating it following any life–changing event) ensures you determine how your assets and your family are protected. If you have minor children, appoint a legal guardian in your will to take care of them in the event you pass away.

With so many adults acting as caregivers to their parents, what types of legal precautions and documentation should be arranged and kept?

Elderly parents commonly execute powers of attorney and can do so with the latest New York State form, revised in 2010. For medical decisions in the event of incapacity, parents should also execute health care proxies. Once these documents are executed, notify your agent and store them in a safe place.


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