Don’t Leave Your Family Hanging When You Die

Don’t Leave Your Family Hanging When You Die

hand writing my last will, estate planning attorneyWhen a person becomes incapacitated or dies without an adequate estate plan in place, his or her loved ones are left trying to make decisions based on what they believe the person would want. In some cases, loved ones may not be able to make any decisions at all. An estate plan provides guidance to friends and family members about their loved one’s desires regarding the end of life care, after death plans, and property distribution.

The Last Will

Dying intestate can leave property and even the futures of loved ones in limbo. For many people who die without a will, their estate will be required to go through probate and the laws of intestacy will apply. The state gets to decide how the estate is distributed, and the wishes of the deceased are often not known or considered. Probate is typically an expensive and lengthy process that can be difficult for loved ones to endure, especially when they have no control over carrying out the wishes of their friend or family member. It is not uncommon for probate to continue for months or even years after a person’s death.

Drafting a last will allows the testator to list the beneficiaries and specify how the property should be divided. It also allows the person to name a legal guardian for minor children, ensuring that they’re well cared for upon the parent’s demise.

Communicating Wishes

It is critical that people establish a plan for their medical care in the event that they become incapacitated and unable to communicate their wishes. By naming a durable power of attorney for healthcare, a person can choose one or two designated people whom they trust, giving them the authority to make decisions regarding their medical treatment when they become incapacitated.

Another important estate planning tool, an advanced care directive contains the testator’s preferred medical treatment and their declaration regarding life-prolonging procedures. Without a DPOA or an advanced care directive in place, people may receive treatment they do not want. Additionally, they could be left suffering while important decisions are left to the courts.

Creating an estate plan is a vital step to protecting the interests of the deceased and their families. People often enlist the services of an estate planning attorney when seeking guidance about which estate planning tools are appropriate for their situations.

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