Posted on: 25 August 2016
Estate planning is a vital process which will ensure your assets are divided as you wish them to be if you pass away or are seriously incapacitated. However, the process of estate planning can be complex so it is important that you seek the advice of a will and estate lawyer. Below are 3 ways a will and estate lawyer can assist you.
Establishing Power of Attorney
Power of attorney will allow an appointed person the power to act on your behalf in relation to legal and financial matters if you become incapacitated and cannot make your own decisions. The person who has the power of attorney will be able to sign documents and checks, manage your estate and handle the cost of any healthcare, among other responsibilities. If you do not have power of attorney prepared before you become incapacitated, other people can apply to the court to see a mandate to manage your affairs.
Making a Living Trust
A living trust is a legally binding contract similar to a will; however, the difference between a will and a living trust is that a living trust can be activated while you are alive. This will give you the power to gradually disburse your assets while still alive, but it will also allow you to assign an appointed representative who will be able to continue the disbursement of your assets after your death. A living trust will avoid probate, which could result in your assets being frozen by a court which will then decide how to divide your assets.
Creating An Advanced Directive
An advanced directive will allow you to designate a representative who will have the legal right to make decisions related to medical treatment. The advanced directive will only be executed if you have become mentally incapacitated to the point that you are unable to make informed decisions about your own care. A conflict over how best to proceed with medical treatment can cause a lot of additional stress at what is already a difficult time. By creating an advanced directive, you can explicitly award legal power to one person along with instructions as to how you would like them to proceed in certain situations. You could, for instance, say you do not want your life prolonged artificially using life support machines or that you want to offer your organs for donation after death.
If you need any help or assistance when estate planning, contact an estate lawyer today.Share