Probate and Estate Law
This is often an area that people do not like to discuss. If they do, they often put these important matters off. The fact is that it is never too early to start estate planning. A Simple Estate Plan is comprised of the following:
- WILL: This directs who will take your belongings and property. You will nominate an Executor/Executrix who will coordinate your wishes. Your Will also has provisions for nominating a guardian for your minor children. Do not put off this important task. If you do, you will allow the State, through its intestacy laws to decide who gets what and others may petition the court for guardianship of your minor children.
- DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY: This document gives one or more persons the authority to conduct your financial affairs on your behalf. The Power of Attorney is important as a practical matter as it takes effect and is used while you are alive. You can revoke the Power of Attorney through a written instrument. It terminates upon death. This document will come in very handy if you are incapacitated due to illness. Most people do not realize the importance of this document.
- HEALTH CARE PROXY: This is another important document that many of us have heard of……but do not have one in place. This document designates another person to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated and unable to do so. Hospitals do provide these forms; however, the Health Care Proxy should be executed in conjunction with the Living Will document (below) in order to ensure that your wishes are complied with.
- LIVING WILL: The Living Will sets out your express desire as to decisions that directly impact the end of your life. It specifically addresses life sustaining issues as to what you want to happen in the event that you are put on life support or artificial respiration. The execution of such a document will help aid your Health Care Proxy in these most difficult of decisions