There are four documents that everyone needs to have in place to address the end of life issues that we all face. By having these documents, you can assure that your wishes as to how you are cared for and what is to be done with property are carried out.
The four documents that everyone needs are:
1. Will. A will enables you to decide what happens to your property after you die. In addition, a will permits you to say whether you wish to be buried or cremated, what sort of memorial service you wish to have, and enables you to donate your organs for the use of others. If you die without a will, also known as being "intestate", the laws of the state in which you reside at the time of your death will dictate who gets your property. In other words, without a will, the state legislature, or the D.C. City Council, will write your will.
2. Durable power of attorney. A power of attorney authorizes another person to act for you in the event that you become incapacitated. Without a power of attorney in place, you may be unable to pay your bills, handle your money, deal with your property, or make any time-sensitive decisions that arise while you are incapacitated.
3. Medical power of attorney. A medical power of attorney authorizes another person to make medical decisions for you in the event that you become incapacitated. Without a medical power of attorney, you and your loved ones may be unable to make decisions for your medical treatment while you are unable to do so yourself.
4. Living will. A living will, or advanced healthcare directive, enables you to decide your end of life options. Many people want to be able to die with dignity when their time comes. A living will informs your healthcare provider of your wishes in prolonging your life and what sort of treatments you want to have when you are at that stage of your life.
Mr. Blitzer can help you plan and prepare for the end stage of your life and help you and your loved ones be prepared to deal with the challenges that come to us all.
When a person dies, a new entity comes into existence, the estate of the deceased person. Everything that belonged to the deceased person will now belong to his or her estate. Every debt that the person owed will be a debt of the estate and every obligation owed to the person will now be owed to his or her estate. The only way an estate can act is by a court-appointed personal representative, or executor, of the estate. Usually the court will name someone who is identified in the will as the personal representative. If there is no will, the court may name a family member or someone with a financial interest in the estate.
In the typical probate process, the personal representative will collect all the assets of the estate, pay all the estate's debts and distribute the remaining assets of the estate in the manner directed in the will. If there is no will the laws of the state where the person resided will dictate how the property is to be distributed.
Mr. Blitzer can help you navigate the probate system.
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