Do you have a Will? Preparing for death, or for a time when you may not be able to take care of all of your affairs, is not something people want to do; it is definitely not what most people would consider a “fun time”. But it is important to have a Will that directs who is in charge of taking care of your final affairs and where you want your assets and “stuff” to go when you pass. If you die without a Will (or intestate), your family will have added expense and delays while they go through the Probate Court to have your assets distributed and title changed to your heirs at law. And sometimes the people who inherit under the law aren’t necessarily the people you would want to receive your assets!
Having a Will is also terribly important if you have minor children- a Will is where you name a Guardian for your children and where you might set up a Trust for their care and education. If you have life insurance or equity in your home, your estate could be worth a substantial amount of money by the time you pass away- you want to make sure your children are protected and taken care of properly.
There are so many issues that arise when thinking about Wills and Trusts, including Community Property, joint ownership, second marriages, etc. Having a caring attorney on your side is invaluable. I pride myself in my attention to detail and my desire to create an estate plan that fits your needs.
Another important document that is oftentimes overlooked is the Durable Power of Attorney (POA). There are two types of POA’s- a financial power of attorney and a healthcare power of attorney. If you become disabled or otherwise incapacitated and can no longer make decisions for yourself, your Financial Power of Attorney (or “Attorney in Fact”) can step in and help with bills, banking, and other everyday life problems. Without this document, your family may need to establish a full guardianship for you, which is time-consuming and expensive; this is a document that once you need it (when you are disabled or mentally incapacitated), you can’t always grant it. So it is important to have this in place “just in case”.
The Healthcare Power of Attorney is similar, but is more specific. Your Attorney in Fact for healthcare is there to speak for you regarding your healthcare needs when you can’t, or when you need an extra advocate. It is another document that is important to have “just in case”.
I can help you with all of these, and more. I offer free in-home conversations to go over your needs and I will quote you a reasonable flat fee for all work involved. I strive to keep my fees economical to help every family be prepared for the bumps in the road. Feel free to contact me to set up an appointment!