Wills, Powers of Attorney, and Living Wills
Hesitation to discuss death as part of the cycle of life is a common reason to put off creating a will. However, the reality for all of us is that the question is not whether death will come, but when. Sometimes the realization that wills are necessary comes too late – such as when an unexpected death or disability occurs. To avoid added stress on loved ones during an already emotional time, prepare important documents now. Loved ones will not have the ability to make decisions on your behalf or carry out your wishes after death or incapacity unless you have created the documents necessary for them to do so.
- Wills (to include testamentary trusts)
- Powers of Attorney
- Medical Powers of Attorney
- Living Wills (Health Care Directives)
I offer affordable and predictable flat fees for all documents as well as a package rate for all four.Why Have A Will?
- You decide how your estate will be distributed
A will is a legally-binding document that lets you determine what will happen upon your death. If you die without a will, the laws of intestate succession might result in your assets being distributed differently than you would have wanted.
- You decide who will care for your minor children
Absent a will, a court will choose among family members or a state-appointed guardian. Having a will allows you to choose the person you want to raise your children. You know who is best suited.
- You decide who will be responsible for ensuring that your wishes are carried out
Personal Representatives make sure that your affairs are in order, including canceling credit cards and notifying banks and other business establishments and ensuring that assets are distributed as you intended. This is a position with a great deal of responsibility and you know who is best suited.
- You can disinherit individuals
Wills specifically outline how you would like your estate distributed. Without a will, the laws of intestate succession will dictate to whom your assets will be distributed.
- You can make gifts and donations
The ability to make gifts allows your legacy to live on and to reflect your personal interests and values.
- You can maximize avoidance of legal challenges
If you die without a will, part or all of your estate may pass to someone you did not intend. In certain cases such as second families, there are special planning considerations.
- Life changes might make your will more important
You can change your will at any time. Life changes, such as births, deaths, and divorce, can create situations where determining who will receive your assets becomes more necessary.
- Because tomorrow does not plan itself
A Financial Power of Attorney allows you to designate another person as your agent to act on your behalf for financial matters if you are unable to do so due to incapacity or disability, or if you are unable to be present to handle matters yourself. Without a Power of Attorney, a Court may have to appoint a guardian to make financial choices on your behalf because your loved ones do not have the legal authority to set up a Power of Attorney for you.Why Have a Medical Power of Attorney?
A Medical Power of Attorney allows you to designate another person as your agent to act on your behalf for medical matters if you are unable to do so due to incapacity or disability. For example, a person may be unable to express wishes if they are unconscious or in a coma.Why Have a Living Will?
An Advance Medical Directive, commonly called a “living will” gives you control over what medical treatments and procedures take place if you are incapacitated in a terminal condition or a persistent vegetative state and unable to make your own decisions about life sustaining treatment. A living will directs your doctors about actions regarding life sustaining treatment when you can not. This allows you to decide whether life sustaining treatment will occur and under what conditions even when you can’t communicate your directions verbally. Not only does a living will allow you to make your own decisions in advance, it alleviates your family from having to make these very difficult decisions for you.
If you also have a Medical Power of Attorney, the two documents can specify whether you would like your healthcare agent to be able to override your Living Will decisions or not. In this way, the two documents supplement and complement each other.
If you are looking for assistance with securing your future, contact me at 720-780-0115, or by using the online contact form. I am looking forward to navigating a route with you.