What documents you’ll need for estate planning in NY can vary significantly depending on many factors, including the size of the estate and the life circumstances and desires of the individual who is doing the planning. However, at a very basic level, most estate plans have a few common elements, which are present in small estates as well as much larger estates. Five essential documents that should be included in any estate plan include the following:


A will is central to estate planning in NY, regardless of the size of the estate. A will is a legal document that expresses the decedent’s wishes about critical concerns, such as guardianship of children and the fate of any property. The will should name an executor, who will be responsible for carrying out the directives of the decedent as expressed in the will. Once the decedent passes, the will must go through a court process, called “probate.” During probate, the will becomes a public document, and the decedent’s wishes, as expressed in the will, can no longer be kept private. If the decedent has minor children, guardianship will generally be established in the will. The will can identify a physical and financial guardian for any minor children. In addition, the will can express any of the decedent’s specific desires for the guardianship of the children, including instructions for the child’s religious upbringing, education, or other matters of particular concern to the decedent.

Revocable Trust

A trust is a document that will allow significant parts of estate planning in NY that should be resolved outside of the probate process. The trust should name a trustee and a successor trustee. These individuals will be responsible for administering the assets of the trust outside of court. The complexity of a trust document can vary considerably, depending on the desired provisions and the number of assets involved.

Health Care Directive

A health care directive discusses end-of-life desires and the conditions under which you may not wish to receive life support or other invasive medical intervention. These documents can set forth wishes with respect to a variety of health care decisions, in the event that you are no longer able to speak for yourself.


In order for your health care directive and trust documents to operate successfully, you will need to include a HIPAA medical information release form, which provides your successor trustees the authority they will need to receive your health information and medical records.

Financial Power of Attorney

In the event that you are incapacitated, someone will need the authority to handle your finances on your behalf. The power of attorney will name that person.

For all of your estate planning needs, contact an experienced estate planning attorney in NY today at Alatsas Law Firm. The attorneys at Alatsas Law Firm have the skill and experience to protect your assets and advance your wishes in your estate plan. Contact the skilled attorneys at Alatsas Law Firm today, at (718)-233-2903.

Ted Alatsas
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Trusted Brooklyn, New York Family Law Attorney helping NY residents with Elder Law and Asset Protection
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