An alternative to forming a trust is to execute a will. We can determine your goals for your estate and designate the beneficiaries of your estate to carry out your wishes. A will requires you to appoint a personal representative to handle the affairs of the estate in probate. Our firm will assist you in filing the probate action in district court, guiding you through the various steps of probate: appointment of Personal Representative and determination of heirs and beneficiaries, giving notice to creditors, inventory and appraisal, and final distribution of assets to designated beneficiaries. The probate process has these various stages and notices required by law, and the assigned judge will be required to sign off on all orders.
Durable Power of Attorney
We also recommend that all our estate planning clients execute a durable power of attorney. A durable power of attorney allows you to appoint a family member to make legal decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so in the future. The typical scenario entails elderly family members who become unable to make legal decisions for themselves as a result of Alzheimer’s/dementia or some other disease affecting mental functioning. The durable power of attorney would allow the appointed person to pay household bills, medical bills, and nursing home bills of the disabled relative. If a durable power of attorney is not in place already when someone becomes legally incompetent, a guardianship lawsuit has to be filed in district court costing the estate thousands of dollars.
Living Will/Medical Power of Attorney
A living will (sometimes referred to as a medical durable power of attorney) allows you to designate the type of medical care you want to be administered by your treating physicians in the event you become mentally unable to express your wishes. Many people want to take the burden off their relatives in making critical medical decisions once they develop an incurable, irreversible health condition. You can designate well in advance if you do not want to receive intravenous feedings, electric shock treatment, or artificial respirators to prolong your life when there is no reasonable expectation of recovery. This will allow you to maintain your dignity and lift the burden from your family of making these decisions in a very emotionally difficult situation. You can also appoint a representative for less critical situations when you might only be temporarily unable to make medical decisions for yourself.
Every estate planning package is unique depending on the client’s needs and assets. We would like the opportunity to meet with you to help you form an estate planning package that best meets your needs.
A FREE Case Evaluation from John Melot will help you decide what legal documents will work best for you and your family.
Call us TODAY to learn more! Melot Law 405-485-4620