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Wills & Estate Planning
Estate Planning documents are not only crucial for every person to have, but also surprisingly affordable. Every non-minor person, regardless of age, health, or financial position, should consider executing the following three important and self-empowering documents:
POWER OF ATTORNEY AND HEALTH CARE REPRESENTATIVE
This document allows a person you trust to act on your behalf in the event you are unable to act yourself for any reason. Such a document can be used in an everyday situation or in emergency situation, presently or in the future, and can cover matters pertaining to both healthcare and finances. The Power of Attorney is also durable, meaning that it survives the possible mental incapacity of the person executing it. This is an important tool for planning for the future, so that a trusted person is in place to make smart decisions on your behalf in the event you are someday no longer capable of doing so. Choosing a Power of Attorney now can also potentially eliminate the need for a Conservatorship down the road, where it is the Court who decides who is best to make healthcare or financial decisions for you.
A Living Will, or Health Care Directive, is a document executed by a capable individual outlining his or her end-of-life preferences to be honored at a time when his or her condition is deemed terminal by the attending physician. Such a document can also be a blessing to those you are leaving behind, because your preferences have already been specified and thus the decision-making burden is lifted.
LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT
Last Will and Testament: this document outlines the Testator’s wishes after his or her passing. Did you know that if you pass without a Will, the laws of Intestate Succession dictate who inherits your property and in what share? Most people are surprised to find out that the Statute does not usually reflect their desired distribution. Further, in a Will you can appoint an Executor of your choice, the person you trust to carry out your final wishes. And of ultimate importance, if you have minor children, you can appoint a Guardian to care for them physically and to manage the money you leave behind for their benefit. If you do not have a Will outlining your wishes, it is the Court who will make these decisions on your behalf.
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