If you die without a will, or become incapacitated without a power of attorney or health care proxy, the court system and state law will determine the distribution of your assets, who will serve as guardian for your children, and health care decisions, the results may be significantly different from what you would have desired.
Estate planning is never a popular topic. While no time may seem like a good time to consider the subject, if something unexpected were to happen to you or your spouse, do you really want those decisions to have to be managed then?
There is no better time than the present to meet with us to develop an estate plan that allows you to determine who will inherit your property upon your death, provide for the care and custody of minor children, and individuals with special needs, as well as make health care decisions and take financial action if you are unable to do so.
Basic Estate Planning Documents
There are three basic estate-planning documents. The table below describes these four documents and why you might want to consider using them. It is recommended that you discuss with an attorney your personal situation and what documents would be best for you.
|WHAT DOES IT TAKE||WHY YOU MIGHT USE IT||THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND|
|Will||A Will spells out what you would like to be done with your assets upon your death||Without a Will, the laws of your state will dictate who receives your assets even though you may want something different done with them||An attorney can help you prepare a Will that distributes your assets in the manner that you choose|
|Durable Power of Attorney||This document names a person to make financial decisions for you if you are unable to make them||This will avoid the cost, time and hassle of having someone go to Court to be appointed as your guardian||As long as you are mentally competent, you can appoint, revoke or change the power of attorney|
|Living Will a/k/a Health Care Proxy||This document specifies what you want or don't want for medical treatment if you are unable to express those wishes, and names a person to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to make them||This will allow you to control the extent to which you will receive medical treatment, and someone you trust and allows the indivisual(s) that your have appointed to make the medical decisions for you||As long as you are mentally competent and able to express your wishes, your instructions will control. In the event that you cannot communicate your wishes this can be a difficult responsibility and you must appoint someone who understands and will carry out your instructions|
It is best to plan ahead regardless of your age, health, or financial status. Communicate with others and keep them informed of your desires and instructions. Keep your documents up to date and review them periodically to make sure they reflect your wishes.
Attending to these things while you are able will help provide peace of mind to you and those you care about.11 The information supplied above is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.