loved ones to the expense of dealing with the Probate Court even before death, however. If a person becomes
incapacitated for some reason (for instance, because of a stroke, automobile accident, Alzheimer’s or some other
form of dementia), unless the person has a Durable Power of Attorney or a Living Trust, a family member or
friend will have to petition the local Probate Court to be granted the authority to take care of the person’s financial
matters and personal care. This is an expensive, time-consuming process that can be easily avoided. An
estimated fifty percent (50%) of all people will become either mentally or physically incapacitated before death.
children, your Will will state the person(s) you want to raise your child/children upon your death.
A Durable Power of Attorney allows you to appoint a person to act for you in the event that you become
incapacitated and therefore incapable of making your own decisions, particularly financial ones, such as
paying your bills and buying and selling real estate. Your Durable Power of Attorney can be drafted so that
your incapacity must be certified by a physician of your choosing before any of the provisions of the
Durable Power of Attorney go into effect.
care decisions in the event that you become incapable of making them yourself. Your Health Care Power
of Attorney can be drafted so that your incapacity must be certified by a physician of your choosing before
any of the provisions of the Health Care Power of Attorney go into effect.
take in the event that you cannot communicate these wishes to the providers yourself. It also provides the
name of a person you choose who is authorized to make your health care decisions in the event that you
become incapable of communicating them yourself.
Probate Issues occur when:
Attorney and/or Health Care Power of Attorney. In such cases, a relative or friend has to petition the local
Probate Court for Guardianship and/or Conservatorship, which will allow the friend or relative to then make
decisions on behalf of the person who has become incapacitated.
capacity of the person who signed the will.
own unique circumstances, and those of their family. I can help you determine whether trusts or other estate
planning documents are appropriate for you. Living Trusts have become enormously popular in estate planning.
They are especially useful for clients who own property out-of-state. The recent popularity of Living Trusts have
eclipsed some of their disadvantages, however. Generally, a Living Trust is more costly to establish than a will,
simply because a Living Trust involves more complex legal drafting. Further, the client must be vigilant about
putting the title(s) to his/her assets in the name of the client's Living Trust, as the trust provisions will not apply to
improperly titled assets. A "pour-over" will is still required, and generally a Durable Power of Attorney, Health
Care Power of Attorney and Living Will are still recommended. Nonetheless, Living Trusts are extremely useful
to many clients.
|WILLS, TRUSTS, POWERS of ATTORNEY, & LIVING WILLS
|"Thanks so much, Sue. It|
|really helped me to have you |
walk me through this process."
|The choice of a lawyer is an
important decision and should not
be based solely on advertisements.
|LAW OFFICES OF SUSAN J. WIRTHLIN