We have written on this subject before, but it seems critical at this time of year – when both holidays and bad weather are upon us – to raise again the issue of having proper legal documents in place in order to best protect your family.
Statistics tell us that only about one third of our population has any kind of legal estate plan. And about one half of those only have a will. It constantly amazes me that so many of us have not thought to prepare for the adversities in life – death, taxes, incapacity – with documents that can help our families get through the “tough times”. And we know that we are all going to face one or more of these unfortunate times at some point in our lives.
At this holiday season, we are offering a way that you can bring peace of mind to your loved ones. What better gift to give someone you care about than to provide that person with assistance in payment of estate planning documents for themselves and/or their family.
There is one set of legal papers we believe everyone should have:
- A living trust (or a will, or both)
- A Durable Power of Attorney for Property
- Health care documents (Health Care Power of Attorney, HIPAA and living will)
Parents with young children absolutely should have wills, for it is in these documents that guardians and conservators for their children are named. Without a will specifying these appointees, a probate court is free to name whomever it deems “best” to take over the children’s care. So, please, if your children have children, pester your children to get their legal documents completed. And if you help with the cost, perhaps that would be enough for them to get this important step done.
Having a living trust is, we believe, an even better approach than having just a will. With a living trust, there is no court action required upon death in order to get your assets distributed to your beneficiaries. Administration of an estate can take place quickly, with no public record and limited fuss and bother, giving everyone more peace of mind.
Durable Powers of Attorneys are critical, especially for older folks who might face a disability at any time. Without this document, a court must name a Conservator to take care of someone else’s affairs (including banking, bill paying, tax returns, etc.), and this Conservator could be someone you don’t even know.
Health documents also are important for everyone. Without a health care power of attorney, a court would be involved to name a Guardian to care for the incapacitated person – and that takes time and money.
Any court action is public. It’s time consuming. And it’s expensive. So if you want to avoid these many miseries – and more importantly want your loves ones protected – please contact Lantz Law, Inc. at 508- 998-8800 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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