To protect yourself and your family in the event of death or long-term illness, you shouldhave each of the following documents: Last Will & Testament, Durable Power of Attorney, Living Will, and Declaration of a Conservator.
A Last Will and Testament is a legal document that takes effect upon your death. If properly drafted and executed, the will is then probated, and your assets are distributed according to your wishes. You should periodically update your will.
A Durable Power of Attorney allows you to give someone the authority to manage your financial and personal affairs in the event that you become incapacitated. However, a durable power of attorney takes effect immediately, and ends at your death. Spending a few moments now while competent can save thousands of dollars in guardianship court costs and legal fees should you become incapacitated and need someone to manage your personal and financial affairs.
A Living Will authorizes someone to make decisions about your medical care if you are unable to do so for yourself. The person you appoint is your agent. This is usually coupled with a Living Will, which expresses your wishes regarding life support under certain circumstances. These documents allow you to state your personal wishes about your medical care should you some day be unable to do so. If properly drafted, these documents can minimize family squabbles and will largely reduce the amount of controversy surrounding your medical treatment. A Declaration Naming a Conservator, is a document under which you choose your own conservator (agent), should one ever be needed, while you are competent to do so. Generally, the probate court will honor your wishes. Moreover, making your wishes known will often avoid family disputes and legal fees that might otherwise occur.
Please contact us at 860-646-4220 to schedule a free initial consultation regarding the development of a plan and the appropriate documents for your particular situation.
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