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Give a priceless gift to your family this Christmas

Don’t wait until Christmas 2019 to give a priceless gift to your family.  The planning and execution of Advance Directives and a Last Will and Testament while competent to execute legal documents will bring peace of mind to all.

If you already have a Last Will and Testament, and/or health and financial powers of attorney, review them and update as necessary.  Does your Financial Power of Attorney appoint trustworthy people who will protect your property for your benefit?  Does your Health Power of Attorney appoint agents whom you trust to make health care decisions for you and carry out your preferences about treatments that might be used to sustain your life?  As a protection of your person and property, discuss your health and financial concerns with your chosen agents so that they can carry out your wishes if you are unable to do so.

As children mature, family members pass away and relationships change, review your Last Will and Testament to incorporate the changes.  The appointed agents and estate beneficiaries should reflect your present situation and estate distribution desires.

If incompetency limits your ability to oversee your financial needs and no valid Financial Power of Attorney is in place, a family member or friend cannot step forward to act in your stead.  The appointed judge in a guardianship proceeding may choose the guardian of your property.  Without a trustworthy financial agent, unscrupulous individuals, including family members, may take advantage of you.

Similarly, without a documented health agent, and if doctors determine that you are incompetent to make health decisions, a judge may appoint the guardian of your person to make your health decisions.  An undesired family member, or stranger, may make your health decisions without knowing your preferred treatment and needs.  Family dissention may allow your health providers to disregard all family input and make independent decisions regarding your health.

At the principal’s death, Advance Directives become null and void and the directions in an executed Last Will and Testament become effective when probated in a court of law.  However, if you die without a valid will or trust:

  1. state law will determine how your probate estate assets will be distributed.
  2. a surviving spouse may be required to share assets with other family members.
  3. the Orphans’ Court will select the executor of your estate.
  4. a judge will select the guardian of any minor children if both parents are deceased.
  5. cherished family property may not be distributed as desired.

With the assistance of an estates and trust attorney, you can prepare Advance Directives selecting trustworthy people to assist you while you are living.  You can also execute post death plans in a Last Will and Testament.  Planning, conversation and action will protect you and your loved ones.  Contact us today to schedule a consultation.