When thinking about wills & estates planning, have you given any thought recently to end-of-life issues? Though they are not necessarily pleasant topics to think about, planning in advance could greatly help your loved ones when the time comes.
One legal document to consider is a Power of Attorney. This grants to an Agent selected by you the power to handle your legal and financial matters, including the power to manage or sell property. Make sure your Agent is someone you trust, however, because this document gives them broad powers to act on your behalf, though the law requires them to act for your benefit and best interest. Powers of Attorney can also be drafted for a limited, specific purpose, such as selling property for you, or managing specific financial accounts. After that specific event occurs, the Agent's authority expires.
In the process of wills & estates planning, many people choose to instead execute a similar document called a Durable Power of Attorney. This document can be drafted in two ways: to extend a general power of attorney to after you have become incapacitated, or to take affect only after you have become incapacitated or incompetent.
A third document to consider is an Advance Health Care Directive. This is a written set of instructions expressing your wishes for medical treatment. It may contain a health care Power of Attorney, where you name a person called a "health care agent" to decide treatment for you, and a Living Will, where you tell your health care agent and health care providers your choices regarding the initiation, continuation, withholding, or withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment and other specific instructions. You can limit your health care agent's involvement to speaking for you only when you are unable to speak for yourself, or you may give your health care agent the power to speak for you immediately-the choice is yours.
Should you need an experienced Family Law Attorney that can help you with preparation of any of these documents, contact our law firm Gusty A.E. Sunseri and Associates.