A will is a written document signed by the person making the will (a testator [male] or testatrix [female]) that controls the transfer of property ownership when that person dies. It is a must for any person who owns substantial property.
The property transferred by the will is that determined to be in the testator’s probate estate. A will also names the person or institution that will served as the executor of the estate. A will may also contain a trust.
Failure to make a will can cause your family and heirs a great deal of money, time, and grief. Do your family and heirs a favor.
In addition to a will, there are three types of end of life documents that a person should consider in order to be prepared:
1. Statutory Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Matters (POA) is a written document signed by the maker (known as the “principal”) before a notary public. The principal names a particular person or institution as “agent” or “attorney in fact” to act for him/her. Usually, the POA give the agent the power to control the principal’s assets during periods when the principal is absent or unable to act (incapacitated).
2. Directive to Physician is sometimes called a “living will.” The person signing a Directive to Physician is giving instructions regarding the administration, withholding, or withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment in the event of a terminal or irreversible condition.
3. Medical Power of Attorney names a specific person to make any health care decisions on behalf of the principal. An agent named in a Medical Power of Attorney has no authority to use the powers unless a physician certifies in the patient’s medical record that the principal is incompetent to make his or her own medical decisions.
Shannon Law offers assistance to clients in preparing wills and end of life documents. If you wish to plan ahead to save your family time, money, and anguish, contact us. We will help you make sure that all necessary documentation is in order.