There are three main documents to consider in estate planning, and they are a Will, Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy. The Will directs how your assets will be divided after you pass away. Without a Will, the state decides to whom your property will pass. This is often in conflict with your own desires. Also in a Will, if you have children you can direct who your guardian will be for your children. This will eliminate guesswork and hard feelings on the part of your survivors. There are other issues to be considered in an estate such as who will administer your estate (called the executor).
A Power of Attorney is important while you are still alive. The person you name as your Power of Attorney will be able to transact business on your behalf when you are unable to do so. For example, if you sustain a stroke you may be incapacitated and in the hospital for several weeks. Your Power of Attorney can transact such business as, for example, your checking account. I cannot tell you how many people have called me asking for a Power of Attorney when their loved one for whom they are calling has already suffered a debilitating injury and cannot properly understand or sign that Power of Attorney. It is too late to sign the Power of Attorney at that point!
A Health Care Proxy is the third important document. It directs that your proxy (health care agent) can talk to your doctor and consult with him regarding such crucial and heartbreaking issues as the “do not resuscitate” decision.
Estate administration, otherwise known as probate administration, can be a bewildering experience, and it is complicated by the fact that you have suffered a loss of a loved one. During these very difficult times, I will be there to help navigate through the estate proceeding with all of its complexities and forms. Assets need to be collected; bills need to be paid and assets need to be ultimately distributed to the beneficiaries named in the Will. I will help you navigate through that process.
It would be an honor and a privilege to serve as your estate attorney.