As your family members age your family's needs change. There are many questions to be asked and decisions to be made. The process can quickly seem overwhelming. Aging involves change, which can be scary, especially when there is uncertainty of what lies ahead. The Law Office of Chelsea M. Sadler can help by shedding light onto the path. We can clarify the issues and problems you are or will likely be facing, and provide you with the tools you need to plan ahead. By planning ahead, you can deal with these issues before they become crises. Of course, in some cases, things will have already begun spiraling out of control. In these situations, The Law Office of Chelsea M. Sadler would use the resources available to help sort things out.
Why do you need an estate plan?
A complete estate plan will include three documents:
- Last Will and Testament
- Power Of Attorney
- Advanced Medical Directive
Last Will and Testament
A Last Will and Testament is a “legal expression or declaration of a person’s mind or wishes as to the disposition of his property, to be performed or take effect after his death.” Anyone who is 18 years of age and older and competent can and should create a will. A will should answer at least these five questions:
1. Who will serve as Personal Representative? (This is the person who will be in charge of settling your final affairs and insuring your beneficiaries will receive their inheritance.)
2. What powers will the Personal Representative have?
3. Who will inherit your property (real and/or tangible)?
4. When will the property be transferred to the beneficiaries?
5. If you have minor children, who will serve as their guardian?
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney allows you to choose someone to act as your agent in multiple situations. These situations include: banking transactions, real estate transactions, retirement accounts, insurance, etc. You would be referred to as the “principal” and the person that you appoint would be called the “agent.” You can choose the way the power of attorney is designed, so you can give that person as much or as little power as you wish. You also have the option of making this document effective immediately or creating what is called a “springing” or “durable” power of attorney. This type of power of attorney will not go into effect until a predetermined circumstance occurs (most often that the principal is deemed disabled or imcompetent to manage their own affairs).
Advanced Medical Directive or “Living Will”
Like the power of attorney, this document allows you to appoint someone to act as your medical agent. This person would be in charge of making medical decisions for you in the event that you were unable to do so yourself. The advanced medical directive also allows you to make clear your wishes regarding medical interventions in certain end-of-life situations. This document can also be used to elect for organ donation.