Union County Wills and Trusts Lawyer

Will

A Will is the legal document that allows you to distribute your property to those you choose. Most people want to be certain their desires regarding their property will be carried out when they die. When you prepare a Will, you can do the following:

  1. Leave your property, including your home, to those you choose such as a spouse, partner, children or grandchildren;
  2. Provide for an alternate person to inherit something if the first person you pick to receive it fails to survive you;
  3. Appoint an Executor who will handle your property after you die and see to it that the provisions of your Will are carried out
  4. Select a personal guardian to care your child or children should you die before they reach the age of 18 and the other parent will not or cannot care for them
  5. Select someone to manage property you leave to a minor or young adult.

What happens if you die without a Will? The legal term for dying without a Will is dying intestate. If you do not specify through a valid Will or Living Trust who will receive your property, state law controls and usually distributes your property to your spouse and/or your closest heirs. This may or may not be what you intended. Moreover, if you fail to nominate a guardian for your minor children, the state could appoint someone you do not trust as a legal guardian of your minor children. Furthermore, by failing to appoint someone to carry out your wishes, the state can appoint anyone to be the administrator of your property, and the administrator may have to pay certain fees or post a bond at the expense of your estate, before he or she can begin to distribute your assets.

Advance Directives are written instructions regarding your medical care. The person chosen will carry out these instructions if you're unable to make your own health care decisions. Anyone age 18 or older may prepare an advance directive. There are several types of Directives.

Living Will

This written, legal document spells out the types of medical treatments and life-sustaining measures you do and do not want, such as mechanical breathing (respiration and ventilation), tube feeding, resuscitation. A living will is also known as a health care declaration or health care directive.

Medical power of attorney (POA). This is also called a durable power of attorney for health care or a health care agent or proxy. The medical POA form designates an individual to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event you're unable to do so. These forms allow your health care agent or proxy to use a living will as a guide, but interpret your wishes when unexpected developments aren't specifically addressed by your living will. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to account for every possible situation that may occur. It is important to understand that the medical POA document is different from the power of attorney form that authorizes someone to make financial transactions for you. If you don't appoint a medical POA, the decisions about your care default to your spouse. If you aren't legally married, decisions fall to your adult children or your parents.

Power of Attorney

If there is a time when you are unable to make financial decisions for yourself, a power of attorney is quite beneficial. Essentially you choose another person to make such decisions for you.