Most people do not have wills, powers of attorney and advance health directives. This can create unintended consequences in a variety of ways. For example, if a person who is married and has children should die his or her spouse would receive only 50% of his or her probate estate plus $30,000.00. Moreover, the children’s inheritance would not be distributed in the form of a testamentary trust, which could cause problems if a particular child is not ready to assume financial responsibility of his or her inheritance. For this reason, under these circumstances adults should most definitely have a will. Even beyond these circumstances, to make sure that one’s wishes are fulfilled all adults should have a will.
It is also imperative that all adults have a durable power of attorney and an advance health care directive. A durable power of attorney is important in the event a person becomes unable to handle his or her affairs while alive. Without a power of attorney, a spouse or another responsible person would have to go through an expensive and time consuming legal process of obtaining a legal guardianship. For a fraction of the cost, a well drafted durable power of attorney can avoid this headache.
An advance health care directive, which is also known as a living will, is vital to make sure a person’s end of life wishes are followed. This document can inform a person’s family and physicians as to what, if any, extraordinary measures should be taken to prolong one’s life in the event the person is unable to communicate health care decisions and is in a terminable, near death status.
Wills, durable powers of attorney, and advance health care directives should be part of every adult’s estate plan. It is essential that an attorney prepare these documents. Once they are prepared, they should be periodically reviewed and updated to make sure they reflect changes in life circumstances. These documents should not be expensive, and should be prepared in a timely manner.
Please consider contacting me to learn more or to set up an appointment so your will, power of attorney and advance health care directive can be prepared or updated.