Elder Information & Free Guides
Find some answers to common questions here.
If you need further information don't hesitate to call.
We offer free consultations to new clients.
Get FREE helpful news and legal information
of vital interest to seniors.
Brought to you by Brian A. Raphan, P.C.
On the Radio:
Listen to our interview on "Spotlight on Business"
"Why you need a Will"
"Nursing Home Abuse"
Why you need a Will...
If you die without a will, the assets in your name in most instances will be distributed by a court-appointed administrator among your family members pursuant to a statutorily fixed priority. These rules, known as the "Distribution Rules of Intestacy," reflect what the New York State Legislature decided would likely be preferable in most situations. For example, if you are survived by:
• a spouse and descendants: your spouse takes the first $50,000 and one-half the
balance of the property, and your descendants share the rest.
• a spouse but no descendants: spouse takes all.
• descendants, no spouse: descendants take all.
• a parent or parents, no spouse, no descendants: your parent or parents take all.
• descendants of either parent but none of the closer relatives: the descendants of
your parents take all.
• one or more grandparents or their descendants, but none of the closer
relatives: half goes to the maternal side and half to the paternal (but not including
second cousins if you have any first cousins on either side).
• where "descendants" include a mix of generations, living children take a full
equal share, and children of predeceased children then divide equally the combined shares of their deceased parents. This allocation may very well differ from the
distribution you desire. A properly drafted will can enable you to direct the distribution of your assets in accordance with your wishes.
Health Care Proxies & Living Wills...
A Health Care Proxy is a document which allows you to give a trusted person, such as a relative
or friend, the power to make health care decisions for you if you become incapacitated and
cannot make those decisions for yourself. The person you name is called your agent.
Who can be my agent?
Your agent must be at least 18 years old and should be someone you trust. If you appoint your doctor, remember that the doctor cannot act as both your attending physician and your agent. Also, please note that there are special restrictions and limitations regarding health care agents if you are a patient or resident of a hospital or if you have applied for admission to a hospital. You can also name an alternate agent who would act as your agent if your first agent were unable to do so.Your agent has the right to get any of your medical records that are necessary to make an informed decision about your health care. Your doctors are required by law to follow the good faith decisions made by your agent as if they were your decisions.
What can my healthcare agent do for me?
Your agent can make any health care decision that you could make yourself if you were not incapacitated. Your agent makes these decisions in accordance with your wishes or in accordance with your best interests, if your wishes are not known and cannot be discovered. You should remember that your agent will not be allowed to make decisions to withhold artificial food and water for you unless your wishes about this specific kind of care are specified. Therefore, it is very important for you to discuss your wishes regarding health care with your agent and alternate agent. It is also important that any statements of your wishes reflect your current wishes regarding health care decisions.