In our busy world, we strive to develop our careers, create stability and provide comfort for our families. We often do not have time nor want to think about life changing events, such as, What would happen to my family if I were no longer around? It is important to make sure you have the best plan to protect your assets and to transfer them upon your death in the best, most efficient, cost-effective manner. Not doing so may harm your loved ones because of poor planning. D. Stephen Parsons, P.A. can help you with the complicated but important issues in order to create your plan and protect you and your loved ones.
Everyone knows you should have a will, but apparently more than half of us haven't gotten around to it. A will lets you control what happens to your property. If you have minor children, a will enables you to designate who will care for them after your death. Through a will you can nominate a legal guardian for your children and name an executor to handle the distribution of your estate to your designated beneficiaries.
Probate is the court-supervised legal procedure that determines the validity of your will. It affects some, but not all aspects of your estate. Non-probate assets, like a life insurance policy, are paid directly to the beneficiary. Upon your death, your will is filed with the probate court and its validity determined. All property, debts, and claims of the estate are inventoried and appraised. All valid claims of the estate are collected, and the remainder is distributed to beneficiaries according to the will.
You, as "principal", name another individual as your "agent" or "attorney-in-fact", to act for you in handling your affairs; for example, to sign checks and make deposits, pay bills, contract for medical or other professional services, sell property, obtain insurance, and do all the things you do in managing your day to day affairs. The authority that you give to your agent can be as broad (for example, to do anything you could do) or as narrow (for example, to sell a particular piece of real estate) as you choose. A power of attorney must be in writing and signed by you so that your agent has something to show as to his or her authority to act for you. A Durable Power of Attorney is a written power of attorney which contains the words "This power of attorney shall not be affected by my disability," or "This power of attorney shall become effective upon my disability," or similar words. In order to be valid it must be signed by you before you become disabled.
This legal paper says who should make your health care decisions if you can't speak for yourself. This person can stop treatment you would not want. This person is called your "attorney in fact" but they don't have to be a lawyer. Your attorney in fact is just someone you trust to carry out your wishes. This document also contains an "Advance Healthcare Directive", more commonly known as a "Living Will" that puts in writing your wishes for treatments that you do or do not want to receive if you can not communicate your wishes personally. You can cancel a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care at any time. Just tell your doctor or other health professional that you changed your mind.
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