The right documents, correctly prepared, will allow you to retain control over your assets while you are living and after you have passed away. More importantly, estate planning paperwork can ensure that medical decisions made on your behalf, while you are unable to advocate for yourself, are made in accordance with your wishes.
These documents need not be complex but they do need to be legally viable and are very important. The time to create them is now, when you are well and able to make clear and informed decisions. You and your family will enjoy peace of mind as you realize that your wishes are clearly documented and will be followed.
A will defines instructions that should be implemented after you pass away. Perhaps you’d like to leave a keepsake to a specific person or donate money to a favorite charity.
While many people focus on the monetary and property aspects of a will, these legal vehicles are also very important to younger generations who have children. A will can describe who should raise your children in the event you are unable to do so.
Wills demonstrate love to family and friends not just by what you give them but, by having a will in place, relieves possible tensions and uncertainty as to disposition of property.
A living will describes your preference to be removed from life support equipment should you be declared permanently unconscious or terminally ill with no hope of recovery.
Without a living will, you will be kept alive by artificial means indefinitely. Many of our clients do not wish this to happen but we must advise them that, without a living will, their wishes will not be honored.
POWERS OF ATTORNEY
You may designate another person to act on your behalf and take care of your daily affairs if you are unable to do so. Each document is tailored to your needs and you can decide how much power to give to this person.
Many people associate this document with old age and mental deficiency but powers of attorney can be enacted if you are temporarily incapacitated or even away on vacation.
We advise our clients that, while it may seem odd to prepare such as document when you are healthy, that is precisely the right time to do so. Too many people wait until they are unable to understand the content of such a document and unable to enact their own wishes.
When we are healthy, we don’t envision illness or the inability to speak for ourselves in our own healthcare decisions. However, you will want any medical decisions made on your behalf to be in accordance with your wishes and perhaps religious beliefs.
An effective living will is always paired with a document that names a healthcare agent, someone who has limited powers of attorney and can act for you in a way that you would want done.
Trusts are legal vehicles that define property ownership. For example, you can place your home in a trust so that the owner is no longer defined as an individual person.
The benefits of trusts include Title 19 planning, shielding assets from creditors and tax implications.
As every situation is unique, The Hamzy Law Firm, LLC, recommends you schedule an appointment during which we can discuss your particular needs and recommend the documents you will need to plan your estate effectively, efficiently, and according to your wishes.