ESTATE PLANNING AND ADMINISTRATION
Why do I need an attorney to draft my estate planning documents?
Planning for the future is never easy, especially when planning involves contemplating one’s own mortality. However, it is necessary if you want the disposition of your assets to be carried out in the way that you see fit. And in order to ensure that happens, an attorney can be invaluable. The two most common documents that bring to fruition your wishes are wills and trusts. They operate in very different ways, as covered in another segment, and you should consult with an attorney prior to making a decision. As with most things, there is a lot of misinformation on these topics.
Estate planning does not just involve the disposition of assets, however. Handling your affairs if you are unable or assigning the responsibility to make medical decisions to another is also estate planning. Durable powers of attorney designate an agent (someone operating on your behalf) to assist in handling your bank account, car payments, and other financial needs. Health care powers of attorney designate an agent to make medical decisions when you are unable to communicate those due to lack of consciousness or lack of capacity. There are not only state laws that speak to what makes these documents effective and enforceable, there are hundreds upon hundreds of cases that fill in the gaps that the codified law leaves.