Wills, Trusts, & Power of Attorney
Legal documents need to be fully intentional, written and signed while you are mentally capable. The onset of illness, stroke, or other physical trauma could potentially render you mentally unsound.
Upon death you have a will whether or not you’ve created or even want one. State intestate laws prescribe the systematic method in which the property of the deceased passes to their heirs. If you prefer a decided distribution of property, a personal will must be devised to take precedence over intestate rules.
Requirements of A valid will
- A comprehensive attention to detail.
- It must be in writing.
- It must be signed by you.
- There must be two witnesses to the signing of the will
- Some cases require a Notary Public signature.
If there are a number of assets and/or any complications it is not a good idea to devise your own will without legal advice. If you make a mistake, it could cause all kinds of unforeseen problems for your heirs or loved ones.
Trusts are created for many different situations, the most common being the “living” or “inter vivo” trust. It’s purpose is to avoid cost, public disclosure, and the possible 6 to 12-month probate.
Various Forms of Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a legal instrument that is used to delegate legal authority to another. The person who signs (executes) a Power of Attorney is called the Principal. A Principal can give an Agent any range of legal authority. There are a few different types of Power of Attorney:
A “Nondurable” Power of Attorney
This takes effect immediately. It remains in effect until it is revoked by the Principal, or until the Principal becomes mentally incompetent or dies. A “Nondurable” Power of Attorney is often used for a specific transaction (i.e. the closing on the sale of residence, or the handling of the Principal’s various financial affairs).
A “Durable” Power of Attorney
This enables the Agent to act for the Principal even after the Principal is not mentally competent or physically able to make decisions. (The “Durable” Power of Attorney may be used immediately, and is effective until it is revoked by the Principal, or until the Principal’s death.)
A “Springing” Power of Attorney
This becomes effective at a future time. That is, it “springs up” upon the happenings of a specific event chosen by the Power of Attorney (i.e. illness or disability of the Principal.)
If you’re not sure which Power of Attorney is best for your situation contact us, we offer a free consultation.
Check out our Resource Center for more information on Wills, Trusts, & Power of Attorney.