Preparing a will is often delayed because we don't have time, we don't like to think about it, and it often involves decisions that are difficult to make.
Estate planning decisions should be made carefully. We believe you should take the time you need to fully understand your options and feel comfortable with your decisions. Careful, thorough and thoughtful planning can ensure that you and your assets are protected in the manner of your own choosing when the time arises.
Some of the decisions you need to make may not be easy but navigating through the process can be. Our Firm will guide you step by step through the process and assure that your wishes are properly documented and executed.
Preparing a proper and effective Last Will and Testament and a Living Will involves consideration of several issues. We have created a questionnaire for you that has many of the questions you need to consider when preparing these documents. The questionnaire is designed to supplement the discussion you have with your attorney. It allows you to take the time you need to think about the decisions you will need to make. Your attorney will discuss all the questions, and more, during your planning meeting and walk you step by step through the planning process.
In addition to the questionnaire we have prepared for you, we have prepared a summary of the primary documents and key terms involved in the estate planning process.
A Last Will and Testament is a document that allows you to express your wishes and desires for when you pass. This is where you make decisions about the distribution of your assets and property, and where you decide on the guardians of any minor children. You can even express your desires on your funeral ceremony and what you would like to have happen to your remains. Some people even choose to include personal messages to their survivors, heirs, and/or family. It can also establish a trust for your children, grandchildren, or others. Without a Last Will & Testament that has been properly executed, your estate will be distributed to your heirs, and final decisions will be made for you by your local probate court in accordance with the statutes of the state you last resided in.
A Last Will and Testament or a Living Will do not have any legal effect until they are fully executed in accordance with State law.
A Living Will is a document that allows you to express your desires when you are incapacitated and unable to communicate them yourself. A Living Will indicates a person's preferences and decisions regarding medical care and other major decisions before a serious illness or injury occurs. It authorizes the people you know and trust to carry out your own decisions when you are not able to. You are still alive when this document is used.
A Living Will allows you to do several things. You may choose to do some or all of them. You may appoint a Healthcare Agent to make healthcare decisions for you, appoint a Power of Attorney, provide instructions for the removal of life support systems, designate a Conservator for future incapacity, and make a statement regarding organ donation.