When a Simple Will Is Enough.
By and large, if you are under age 50 and don't expect to leave assets valuable enough to be subject to estate taxes, you can probably get by with only a simple will. As you grow older and acquire more property, you may want to engage in more sophisticated planning - such as a living trust
When Do I Need to Change My Will?
Make sure your will reflects your current wishes and situation. The only constant in life is change. Your will should always be tailored to your current family and financial situation, not the one you faced five years ago or maybe twenty years ago.
Changing a Will
There are two ways to modify a will. One is to add a "codicil" to it - a sort of legal "P.S." to your will, revoking part of it or adding a provision, such as a new gift of an item of property. Simple codicils made sense in the era of typewriters, when creating a brand-new will was a hassle, but today it's usually just as easy to make a new will.
Special Needs Trusts
You can use a trust to leave money to a disabled loved one, without jeopardizing government benefits. If you are providing care for a child or other person with a disability, you need to think about what will happen when you’re no longer around.
How Living Trusts Avoid Probate
Property left through a will generally goes through probate. Probate involves an executor carrying out the terms of your will by invetoring and appraising the property, paying debts and taxes, and distributing the remainder of the property according to the will, while reporting to the probate court and all beneficiaries. When you make a living trust - a legal device in which you hold property as a "trustee" - your surviving family members can transfer your property quickly and easily, without probate court approval.
Ask people why they work hard and save their money, and ninety (90%) percent will answer it's because they want to leave something behind for their children. Understandably, they don't want a big chunk of that money to be used up for probate lawyers' fees.
That's where living trusts come in. When you make a living trust - a legal device in which you hold property as a "trustee" - your surviving family members can transfer your property quickly and easily, without probate.
LIVING WILLS & DURABLE POWERS OF ATTORNEY FOR HEALTHCARE
While the circumstantial evidence suggests that you can't ward off death, you can exert some control over the circumstances, time and manner of its occurence. Please contact our firm today to arrange for a Living Will, Durable Power Of Attorney and a Durable Power Of Attorney For Healthcare.
A Living Will is typically a legal directive stating that if you should become terminally ill and unable to express your preferences, you want your doctors and family to permit you to die as naturally as possible, without administering medical treatment to artificially prolong your life. In other words, when your time comes, you want to them to let you go.
A Durable Power Of Attorney gives your agent authority to make decisions, concerning your money, property, or both, and to use your money, property or both on your behalf.
A Durable Power Of Attorney For Healthcare gives the person you name as your health care agent the power to make health care decisions for you when you lack the capacity to make decisions for yourself including the authority to consent (give permission) or refuse to consent, or withdraw consent to life-sustaining medical treatment and /or artificial nutrition.
What happens if you become mentally incapable of looking after your affairs and haven't executed any of the documents described above? A friend or relative can go into court, present evidence of your incompetency and request the appointment of a Guardian over your person an/or estate. If a Judge appoints a Guardian, the person appointed becomes responsible for handling all your affairs. A Durable Power of Attorney can achieve the same result with the advantage of ensuring that your agent or attorney-in-fact is someone of your own choosing who will enforce your wishes.
Withholding life-sustaining medical treatment in no way means withholding pain relieving medical treatment. Most living wills and durable powers of attorney explicitly request that treatment be provided to whatever extent necessary to keep the patient free of pain, the goal being to relieve suffering, rather than permit or forcing it to continue. And, these directives do not go into effect, if there is even a possibility of recovery.
Please contact our firm today at (603) 431-3430 to arrange your free estate planning consultation.