The term "Elder Law" encompasses many areas of the law, the majority of which are listed below. It is also, perhaps, one of the most important areas of the law in that the various topics often overlap and affect one another. Moreover, decisions and actions taken in this field can have a very important impact on your life as well as the lives of your loved ones. You therefore need to be certain of what you are doing, and more importantly, why. Whether it be a toten trust, guardianship or a simple Will, we will make certain that you are aware of your options and will take the time to answer any questions in a may have in a way that will make you comfortable with your decision before proceeding.
Last Will and Testaments
Medicaid Applications and Fair Hearings
Estates and Probates
Last Will and Testament ("Will") and Related Items
A Will sets forth the final wishers of the maker. Though this is fairly well known, there are some nuances of Wills that are not. For instance, in New York State there must be two (2) witnesses to the making of a Will. Those witnesses cannot be beneficiaries under the Will so as not to create a conflict. Many people are unsettled at the idea of asking friends to be witnesses under their Will because there is always a chance that the Will is challenged after the maker dies, thus possibly requiring them to appear in court. At Stephen C. Giametta & Associates, however, we take steps to make sure this will never occur. It is also helpful to know that if you have a Will but would like to make changes to it the Will can be amended by what is called a Codicil or a new Will can be executed. A Will also sets forth the person that will oversee your wishes that are set forth in the Will. This is called the Executor. The Executor can be anyone of your choosing, whether a beneficiary under the Will or not. There is also an extremely important aspect of your Will that must be taken into account if you have young children. This is the fact that a Will – when properly prepared – should name a Guardian for your minor children. There are two types of Guardians to choose from: Guardian of the Person and Guardian of the Property. A Guardian of the Person is the individual that you would choose to provide shelter, love and affection for your children should you die. As such, you should choose a person that has the type of heart and personality that would best provide these things. Guardian of the Property is the individual that will handle all finances for your children should you die. This person should therefore be someone who is competent and responsible in this area of their own life. Of course, it is perfectly permissible to choose the same individual to be both Guardian of the Person and Guardian of the Property for their children, but you should also be aware that you can choose separate individuals for each if that is what you prefer.
If you wind up in a permanent vegetative state, or are suffering from a terminal illness and become unable to make decisions for yourself, a Living Will directs the type of care you are provided, if any. A Living Will is only used when your ultimate recovery is hopeless. It gives you a voice in times when you would otherwise have none. Moreover, its existence prevents situations in which differing opinions on your care are expressed and, unfortunately, often times, argued about amongst family members, all at a time when the stress of your present situation makes such arguments the last thing your family needs.
Health Care Proxy (Health Care Surrogate, Health Care Power of Attorney
A Health Care Proxy is used where you are unable to speak for yourself (i.e. stroke, coma), but your situation is not so dire that your Living Will becomes effective. It gives someone else the authority to make health care decisions for you in the event you are incapacitated. As with a Living Will, a Health Care Proxy helps to take some of the stress off of your loved ones during an otherwise stressful situation.