A “Will” is a document that deals with how your property and assets will be distributed after death and by whom. Your estate is usually made up of a variety of assets, such as real property, personal possession, Bank accounts, pensions, life insurance, investments and they will all have to be accounted for after your death. Though there are ways to manage your property so that they do not need to be dealt with through your estate, such as owning property jointly or making beneficiary designations, these plans do not always work out and many assets may not have been accounted for and will still need to be dealt with through probate.
While alternatives to having a lawyer create a Will for you exist that may save some money in the short-run, in the long run it is often more costly to your estate to try to decipher what the intentions of your homemade Will were. Even simple errors in the wording of a Will, or small oversights/exclusions, can lead to complications after your death which may require special court remedies and Judicial interpretation. Even worse, your intentions may be totally distorted by the error. The cost to administer an estate without a will, or with a homemade will, can often far exceed the cost of having a lawyer prepared Will. Sometimes the added cost can be hundreds and often thousands of dollars more than it would have otherwise been.
Though using a lawyer does not guarantee that Court assistance wont be required, it significantly reduces the likelihood of that necessity.
It is precisely these costly complications that our lawyers can help you and your family contemplate and often avoid. We can provide guidance to you as to the possible “what if” scenarios so that you can better plan your estate distribution, and to ensure that there is less guesswork for the loved ones left behind.
Plan to book an appointment or consultation to get the Estate Planning process started?
Simply click below to download our Estate Planning Questionnaire Excel document or stop by at one of our branch offices to pick up a printed version. Filling in the information to the best of your ability, and delivering the completed form to us, will get your file started.
We look forward to serving you.
A Power of Attorney (POA) is a very important and helpful document for any adult, no matter the age. While a Will manages your property and finances after your death, a POA will help manage your property when you are still alive.
Sometimes life throws us a curve ball and puts us in a position where we need to rely on someone else to handle a financial matter for us. Such as an unexpected hospitalization, cognitive illness or injury, or an issue arising while we are overseas.
A POA will designate a trusted family member or friend to “step into your shoes” from a financial perspective and control your assets so as to ensure that your well being is maintained should your health begin to fail.
It is VERY IMPORTANT that a POA is created while one is still healthy and has capacity to create it and determine which people in their life will properly manage their property and finances on their behalf. Once your capacity is lost it can be complicated and a costly process to ensure that your assets will go towards maintaining your well being while you are still living.
Our lawyers are here to give you the information, options, and guidance you need to make these very important life decisions.
A Health Care Directive (HCD) is another document that can help people prepare themselves and their family for a difficult medical situation. An HCD gives instructions to health care professionals on what type of care and treatment they will give you in emergency situations and other medical situations where you are no longer able to communicate your wishes yourself.
The directive can also designate certain people that you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf and follow your wishes and believes. An HCD can give direction for things such as how long you would like to remain on life support if unconscious or what should be done if you start to exhibit the different stages of dementia. Having a properly executed HCD on your medical file can ensure that in emergency situations where you are incapacitated, medical personnel who may not inquire into whether you have specific directions for your medical care will be informed of your wishes and treat you as directed.
Like a Will or Power of Attorney, the document helps to ensure that your wishes and intentions are followed and makes things easier for your friends and family once you are unable to make decisions for yourself.