LIFE LETTER MATURE
The three critical estate documents you need
Many of us are so busy managing our lifestyle, we often don't prepare for events that could actually destroy it. When we are able to look after our affairs, there doesn't appear to be a problem. The day will come, though, when someone else will have to do it for us. One or more of the following estate documents will make the job much easier:
Will - The only thing more inevitable than taxes is death. When someone dies, their estate must be dealt with. A Will is a series of legal instructions to deal with our "things" as we wish. Without a Will, the courts will decide for us.
Typically, a Will gives instructions to pay all debts and obligations the deceased has. If there are minor children, a legal guardian is appointed. The Executor of the estate has the duty of meeting these obligations with estate resources and anything left over is given to the named beneficiaries or into a trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries. The Executor may also have to run and then sell or wind up a business if the deceased owned one.
Without a Will, someone will have to come forward to assume the duties and go to the court to make it official. This will cost money and delays, and could actually incur losses if certain assets can't be dealt with in a timely manner.
Enduring Power of Attorney - This is an important legal document used to appoint someone someone you trust to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf. This usually takes effect when you become mentally incapacitated and can't make the decisions yourself. Also known as a Springing Power of Attorney, no powers are granted until it is certified by two medical doctors that you can no longer manage your affairs.
Personal Directive - May also be known as Health Care Power of Attorney or Living Will. This legal document allows you to appoint a decision maker and provide written instructions to be followed when, due to illness or injury, you no longer have the capacity to make decisions like where you will live or the medical treatment you receive.
It is important to review these documents regularly and make changes when necessary.
For information purposes only and not intended to provide specific legal advice. It is strongly recommended that you use a lawyer for the preparation of these legal documents.
Estate planning - because it's the right thing to do!
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