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WILLS AND TRUSTS
Estate planning allows you to control the manner in which your assets are distributed after death. The creation of a Will or Trust is extremely valuable. It can eliminate confusion and disagreements between family members. Through the various estate planning tools, you can consider tax consequences, individual family member needs, plan for potential long term nursing care, protect assets, and consider special needs of family members. Without one of these documents, the state will distribute your assets through the intestacy statutes.
Another important aspect of a Will is the ability to name a guardian for your minor children. In an ideal world this would never be needed. However, unfortunate events occur, and it is better that you make this decision for your children instead of the courts. Without naming a guardian in a Will, the court will determine who should have custody of your children, which may or may not be the best choice. Furthermore, the court's decision could lead to disagreement amongst family members as well.
POWER OF ATTORNEY
A Power of Attorney is one of the most important documents available. This allows you to name an attorney-in-fact, who acts on your behalf. If the need arises, this person would have the authority to make medical decisions, and handle financial matters including pay bills, access bank accounts, enter into contracts, buy and sell property, file tax returns etc. In other words, the attorney-in-fact can do almost anything you are able to do. This is especially valuable if you ever become incapacitated and can no longer make decisions for yourself. Without this important document, the court would name a guardian who may or may not be related to you.
ADVANCED HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVE
The Advanced Health Care Directive is a document that allows you to decide whether you want life sustaining treatment, should you ever be diagnosed with permanent unconscious condition.