Wills, Estates & Power Of Attorneys
A Will is a legal document in which a person expresses their wishes as to how their property is to be distributed at the time of their death. If you do not want your property to pass automatically to others as determined by state law, a Will is very important. A properly drafted Will allows you to distribute your property in an orderly manner.
Parents with minor children need a Will to make sure their children’s needs are secure in the event that of the simultaneous death of the parents. The Will should also include a Trust that provides for the financial well-being of the children, a Trustee to manage the Trust and a legal guardian for the children.
Elderly persons should periodically review their Will to ensure that it is still current. Over time, they may have accumulated additional assets they may not have considered at the time the Will was drafted. They many have bought or sold real estate. Beneficiaries may have had children or divorced. Persons named as Executors may have moved away or passed. So, it is important that those with Wills make sure that their Will is updated.
Elderly persons may also wish to consider giving a Power of Attorney to a person they trust to act as their agent in the event that they become disabled or incapacitated. Often an adult child is chosen. The Power of Attorney is a document that gives all the financial powers one has to another person that acts as their agent. It allows the agent to write checks, sell property, open bank accounts, close bank accounts, trade stock and borrow money. However, the agent must always act solely for the benefit of the person granting the Power of Attorney. The importance of a Power of Attorney cannot be understated. Many elderly persons suffer from the beginning of Alzheimer’s disease or Dementia. Once those conditions have progressed, it is often too late for a person to have capacity to legally sign a Power of Attorney.
A Health Proxy is a form of Power of Attorney that grants a person the authority to make all the medical decisions on a person’s behalf. The powers give an agent the right to approve or deny medical procedures and medication, choose physicians and obtain medical records.
A Living Will is a legal document, also called an advance directive, in which a person expresses their end-of-life care in case they become unable to communicate their wishes.
During your consultation, we will explain how Wills, Powers of Attorney, Health Proxies and Living Wills operate and discuss what works best for you in your situation.