In addition to a Will, it’s important to work with an estate attorney to draw up other important legal documents to protect your interests and the interest of your dependents and/or heirs. These include:
A Durable power of attorney to appoint your “agent” to carry out any legal and/or financial decisions that have to be made on your behalf during your lifetime if you are unable to act on your own behalf. Unlike a power of attorney extending specific or limited powers to a named agent, a durable power of attorney doesn’t end if you become incapacitated. However, all powers of attorney end at your death.
A Living Will and Healthcare Surrogate Designation are legal documents that enable you to specify the kind of medical care you do (or do not) want to receive in the event of illness or incapacity. They outline who is empowered to make healthcare decisions on your behalf and spell out how you wish to be cared for, alleviating the burden on your family members and loved ones to make those decisions at a highly stressful and emotional time.
While not everyone needs a Revocable Trust, it can provide a probate avoidance mechanism and the confidence that you have a plan in place to help provide for the safe and accountable management of family assets and to direct their use and distribution in accordance with your wishes and objectives. During your life you can remain both the trustee and the beneficiary of the trust, thereby maintaining control of the assets and receiving all income and benefits. Upon your death, a designated successor trustee manages and/or distributes the remaining assets according to the terms detailed in the trust, avoiding the probate process. In addition, should you become incapacitated during the term of the trust, your successor or co-trustee can take over its management.
Heidi S. Webb, Attorney at Law serves clients in Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach, Port Orange, Melbourne and beyond with matters of Elder Law, Estate Planning, and Probate Law. Contact her today to schedule a free consultation. Visit her page on Facebook, or see what her clients are saying to learn more about Heidi.