We can assist you in formulating a plan that will help your family navigate through troubled times. We can provide assistance in drafting and executing a Last Will and Testament, trust, and advanced directives such as living wills and healthcare powers of attorney, at affordable prices. More information regarding some of the available tools in estate planning can be found below. Contact our office to speak to an attorney about these documents.
Last Will & Testament
A Last Will & Testament (Will) is a document that outlines how a person wants their belongings to be distributed upon their death. There are legal formalities that must be met when preparing a Last Will & Testament. If there is a failure to meet these requirements, your wishes may not be followed. A Will also allows a person to decide who will administer their estate and on what terms the estate will be handled.
A trust can be made separate from your Last Will & Testament or it may be created as part of your Last Will & Testament. There are many types of trusts and they each serve different purposes. Only upon a careful review of your situation and needs can the right trust be determined for you.
Estate Planing includes not only a Last Will & Testament, but can also include a financial power of attorney, living will and healthcare power of attorney. Every estate plan needs to be tailored to the needs of the person and the family.
Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney gives your attorney-in-fact authority to handle your financial affairs, such as payment of bills, managing your banking and investments, and even handle your other assets such as real estate. A power of attorney can be limited or broad in scope. It can be effective immediately or activated upon the occurrence of a certain event, such as your incompetency or incapacitation. A power of attorney can be unlimited in duration or terminate at a date certain. Powers of attorney may be durable. Powers of attorney can be revoked upon delivery of a written notice to your attorney-in-fact.
Advance Directives for Healthcare
Advance directives consist of a Living Will and a Healthcare Power of Attorney. They are used to express your desires as to how your medical treatment should be handled when you are not able to express those matters yourself. Such directives relieve your loved ones of having to make difficult decisions at difficult times. Advance directives provide you peace of mind and ensure that your healthcare wishes will be carried out as you would want them to be.
A Living Will is a document that expresses your wishes regarding life sustaining treatment if you become terminally ill or permanently unconscious. The Living Will becomes effective only if you are unable to communicate your wishes personally. The instrument directs your treating physicians to follow your instructions regarding the use or non use of life sustaining treatment when you are permanently unconscious or terminally ill. A Living Will can be changed or revoked by you at any time. The determination as to whether you are in a permanently unconscious state or terminally ill with little chance of recovery will be made by two physicians who are required to examine you and agree that you are in such a condition. A Living Will gives instructions on your desire for the use of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (“CPR”) and the use of hydration and nutrition devices.
Healthcare Powers of Attorney
A Healthcare Power of Attorney is used in order to authorize your attorney-in-fact to make medical and health care decisions for you when you are no longer capable of making those decisions for yourself. A licensed physician will determine when the principal is no longer capable of making their decisions. This instrument requires your attorney-in-fact to make health care decisions which are consistent with your wishes. The instrument does not overrule your Living Will. The person named as your attorney-in-fact must be an adult.
Please contact Beirne & Wirthlin to arrange a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys to learn more about how we may identify strategies for a proper estate plan for you and your family.