A Medical Power of Attorney allows you to designate one or more trusted people to make medical decisions on your behalf in case you are unable to do so yourself. Left alone, the "next of kin" will be given that authority, but family members do not always agree on who that would be or may not know what to do. In the mean time, the clock is ticking. Therefore it is of utmost importance for anyone over 18 to designate a medical proxy and provide clarity in a time of chaos.
A Financial Power of Attorney allows you to designate one or more trusted people to make financial decisions and transactions on your behalf in case you are deemed unable to do so for yourself. Due to privacy laws, financial and all other accounts are not accessible to ANYONE without the authorization from the account holder. A Financial POA created ahead of time will avoid damage to your financial standing or credit scores and will prevent any default in payments.
Writing a will is a MUST DO as a parent. If you have dependents, children or adults, you need to have a plan in place for their care in the event you are no longer able to do so. Without this plan in the form of a legal document (i.e. a will), your dependents will become wardens of the state. This means that the state will decide where your children or adult dependents will end up. In the same document you also need to choose a person who will look after your dependent's finances.
A trust is a document that is often used as a secure and easy way to transfer your belongings to another person, called the beneficiary. Everything in this trust, from your life insurance, to your car title or IRA account will still be yours to do with whatever you wish, but at the time of transfer it does not have to go through the courts to reach the beneficiaries.
Trusts also allow you to keep the beneficiaries from making bad financial decisions upon receiving the estate.
Not everyone can agree on what should happen in the event a person becomes incapacitated or who should be assigned the power of attorney for medical or financial matters. Especially in blended families, these decisions can become stressful. This is why we encourage families to seek a neutral counselor who can guide the family members through the types of decision making that will create satisfactory results and peaceful solutions.
Life constantly changes. Babies are born; people get married, divorce, remarried; your assets increase or decrease in value; your preferences for your power of attorney agents may change - all these changes may affect the contents of the documents you have created last year or two decades ago. Document updating is therefore a natural and important part of estate planning. We can update your documents regardless of where they were created in the first place.
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