Wills and Estate Planning

Estate planning includes Wills, Powers of Attorney, Advanced Health Care Directives, Trusts, and Probate Services. Our attorneys are experienced and capable of helping individuals, seniors and families with the planning of their future arrangements and distributions of their assets. Regardless of your age or your assets, it is important to deal with the future and plan for the future by establishing estate plans though both legal documents, such as a Will, Power of Attorney and Living Will as well as understanding the ramifications of assets that will not necessarily pass through your estate such as, 401K Plans, life insurance, IRA's and annuities. Our firm can assist you in dealing with these issues. In the meantime, we hope the questions and answers below will give you a better idea of what is involved in estate planning.

Why do I Need a Will?

A will is a document in which you state your intentions of how you want your property distributed after your are dead. When you die, your property must pass to someone. Without a will, state law will determine how it is distributed. These laws are called the laws of intestacy. With a will, you are making the decision about how your property should be distributed. In addition, if you have minor children, you can make provisions for their care and support if you should die. Even if you have a trust, a will is necessary to cover all the property that is not a part of the trust.

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What is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney gives legal rights and powers to someone who will act on your behalf in financial, business, or other matters when you cannot act for yourself.

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Can the Person With the Power of Attorney Give Gifts of Your Money to Himself or Herself or to Others in my Family?

This depends on the wording in the power of attorney and on state laws. Some state statutes require gift-making powers to be specifically stated in the document. A well-drafted power of attorney will give the right to make gifts if you want to provide that privilege. The power of attorney may limit the amount of gifts or the number of people who receive them. The agent acts in a fiduciary capacity and all actions under the power of attorney must be in your best interest. Ask your lawyer to explain this in detail.

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Can the Holders of a Power of Attorney be Held Liable for his or her Actions?

Yes, but only if the person acts with willful misconduct or gross negligence. If the individual keeps your best interests in mind, he or she will not incur any liability.

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Can I Fire the Person Holding Power of Attorney? Can I Change my Power of Attorney?

Yes, you may revoke the power of attorney at any time by putting the revocation in writing and sending this to the agent. It can be just a simple letter. 

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