Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Another Frequently Asked Question

Another frequently asked question is, "Do I need to do estate planning with an attorney?"

Most people will benefit from a properly drafted estate plan. Even if a person has modest assets, the other documents created in the estate planning process, such as the durable power of attorney for financial matters and the durable power of attorney for health care, are of great benefit in assisting a person's family in administering his or her affairs should he or she become ill or incapacitated. Beyond that, a will, or in many cases, a trust, is very helpful in creating an orderly way for assets to pass when someone dies.

As far as using an attorney is concerned, while it is true that many of the documents that an estate planning attorney will use can be found in very simple form in a bookstore or online, these documents, when used by a non-lawyer, might not be able to encompass the complexities of particular individual situations. Read more...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Two Estate Planning Musts!

While we will be resuming our "Caring for an Aging Parent" series soon, an interesting question came up recently that we want to share.

A potential client called us the other day and asked us which estate planning documents were absolutely essential. It is our belief that everyone 18 years and older should have two documents:
     1. Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
     2. Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Matters

These documents ensure that someone can act on your behalf if you’re disabled or incapacitated. Without these documents, a guardianship will likely be necessary. Guardianships are typically costly, time-consuming and stressful. In a guardianship, you lose control and the Court decides who will make health care and financial decisions for you.

It our experience that families could alleviate stress and save thousands of dollars by executing these two documents when they are healthy and able to do so.