Making sure your final wishes are carried out is the core of will and powers of attorney planning. The legal nature of this type of planning means you will need a lawyer to help ensure that everything is structured correctly. In addition, both your will and your power of attorney plans need to be set out in a way that is consistent with your overall estate plan. Otherwise, discrepancies may occur, assets may be overlooked, and litigations may ensue.
Hart & David provides the experience and knowledge needed to handle the numerous details that go into planning your will and power of attorney. We can help with last wills, living wills, and power of attorney documents.
Last Will and Testament
What the term “will” most commonly brings to mind is a last will and testament: a document that dictates how your property should be divided up and to whom it should be given. It takes effect after you pass on and is an integral part of your estate planning.
Wills are handled by the probate court, and as such, they need to be worded as precisely and clearly as possible. This prevents any misinterpretation of your final wishes and ensures that your beneficiaries receive exactly what you intend. Otherwise, any unclear wording will be left to the interpretation of the court, which could mean disputes, litigation, and loss of assets.
Hart & David can help you structure and word your last will so that it will be an effective instrument for dispensing your estate properly.
A living will dictates your wishes concerning your healthcare in the event that you become incapacitated. It should provide clear instructions on what ought to be done as far as treatments are concerned, such as the types of life-sustaining care you will accept and how long they should be administered. Naturally, this requires that your instructions be clear and thorough, which necessitates a clear knowledge of the law. Our attorneys can help you write a living will to ensure your wishes are carried out.
Power of Attorney
In addition to having a properly planned will, power of attorney needs to be well thought out. It is crucial to have someone you can trust carry out various aspects of your estate plan, including managing finances, real estate, business assets, and even your own health. The types of power of attorney you can grant include:
Ordinary: This is only valid as long as you are able to make your own decisions. Once you become incapacitated, this becomes invalid.
Durable: Unlike an ordinary power of attorney, durable POA lasts after you become incapacitated, thus enabling your representative to carry out your last wishes for your estate.
General: This grants general power of attorney to someone, including power to manage your finances, property, and any decisions you could make if you were present.
Specific: This limits power to specific functions, such as finances, business, or real estate.
The person you choose as your personal representative, called your attorney-in-fact, must meet certain legal requirements in addition to being someone you can trust. For example, your attorney-in-fact may not be under age 18 or be bankrupt. You may also name multiple individuals if you wish, which can be helpful if you feel their varied skillsets will make them suited to managing different aspects of your estate plan.
For assistance keeping your assets secure and ensuring that your wishes are carried out, contact Hart & David to help with your estate planning needs.