Are Estate Planning Documents Public Record by LevineLawNYC

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									Are Estate Planning Documents Public Record?

A comprehensive estate plan typically includes a number of documents that contain
highly personal and confidential information. Your estate planning documents may
include decisions and choices that you wish to keep private. Given the ease with which
information can be gathered and disseminated in the current electronic age, concerns
about the privacy of your estate documents are certainly understandable. State laws can
vary to some degree with regard to how estate documents are handled, and there are
always exceptions to general rules; however, the following addresses the privacy issue as
it relates to the most commonly used estate planning documents.

Last Will and Testament: An estate plan starts with a Last Will and Testament. In some
cases, it also ends with one. Whether your Will is just the foundation of your estate plan,
or is the sum total of your plan, it likely contains some very personal information. During
your lifetime, your Will remains private unless you choose to share it with someone.
Once you die, however, your Will needs to be filed with the court where your estate is
being probated and becomes public record.

Trusts: The public status of a trust depends on which type of trust was created. If you
created a living trust that takes effect during your lifetime, it will not generally be
publicly available. A testamentary trust that only takes effect upon your death though will
also need to be filed with the court along with your Will. Because it is filed with the
court, it will become public record in most cases.

Living Will, Healthcare Directive or Advanced Directive: Like many other people, you
may choose to execute a living will when you create your estate plan. A living will,
however, is legally treated as though it is part of your medical records. As such, it is
protected by various privacy laws. While many states have created statewide registries
for living wills, this does not make your document public record. Registering your living
will only makes it accessible to authorized medical personnel.

Power of Attorney: Powers of attorney come in various forms and are used for a wide
range of reasons as part of an estate plan. As a general rule, there is no reason why a
power of attorney should be publicly accessible.

Experienced estate planning attorneys New York NY of the Law Offices of Barton P.
Levine offers estate planning and business planning resources to residents of New York
NY. To learn more about these free resources, please visit http://www.new-york-estate-
planning.com/probate-administration/probate-administration.htm today.

								
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