SImple Estate Matters:

A simple estate plan includes:

  • Power-of-Attorney
  • Health Care Proxy
  • Simple Will

A Power-of-Attorney lets you designate someone else to handle legal and/or financial matters for you, if you are either physically or mentally incapable.  It’s different from guardianship and conservatorship in that it usually has very limited timing and scope.  Here are some examples:

  • A husband and wife are moving to a new state.  One moves ahead of the other.  The trailing spouse uses a power-of-attorney to make it simpler to sell their old home.
  • A child may have a power-of-attorney to help a parent with taxes or managing a checkbook.
  • When a family member is deployed with the Armed Forces overseas, you might require a power-of-attorney for various matters.

A Health Care Proxy lets you designate someone to make decisions concerning your medical care for you if you are incapable of it.  The laws about health-care proxies vary from state-to-state.  Health Care Proxies sometimes include advanced care directives, through which you can request or refuse certain health services.  If you do not wish to be kept alive through extraordinary means, if you wish to be an organ donor, or you have other such intentions, this allows you to make them clear.

A Simple Will disposes of your possessions and names guardians for your children.  If you die without a will, the laws of your state determine how your property will be distributed.  This default distribution does not consider your specific circumstances.

These documents speak for you when you cannot, and give others control over your life and property when you cannot act for yourself.  You must be able to trust those whom you name to stand for you.  Working with an attorney on these documents is a good idea.  An attorney can explain the law and help answer your concerns.