An Intro to the Advance Healthcare Directive

  In earlier blog posts you have learned about the Durable Power of Attorney, the primary document dictating who has legal power over your finances when you are incapacitated. Now I will introduce the Advance Health Care Directive (AHD), the document that designates who will make your healthcare decisions when you cannot. Usually when we talk about a loss of capacity, people assume that I am referencing … [Read more...]

How Do I Become Executor of an Estate with No Will?

Most people who ask this question have recently lost a loved one who died without any estate planning documents in place. This can be a confusing time, made worse by the emotional strain of losing someone you love. Luckily for you, an attorney who is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law can help you handle the legal aspects of your situation. Someone who dies without a will is said to … [Read more...]

Has the Ship Sailed?

  In my experience as an estate planning attorney, I have come across two types of clients: proactive and reactive. Proactive clients meet with a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law before incapacity or death strikes. Reactive clients, on the other hand, meet with a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate law because inevitable incapacity or death are on the line. … [Read more...]

Top 10 Things Not to Do When Someone Dies

  Often, when a person dies, there will be one person who steps up to handle everything. Sometimes this is a spouse, a parent, a child, a close friend, a grandchild, or some other relative. Maybe you’ve just lost someone you love, and you’re the person who has stepped up to handle everything. Maybe you’ve just lost someone you love, and you are not the person who is handling everything, but you want to help … [Read more...]

Next of Kin: Who Inherits if There is No Will or Trust?

So, you’ve had a loved one pass away and you’re not sure who will inherit their estate, assets, and belongings? Or, you’re curious who would inherit your stuff if you (or someone you love) died suddenly without an estate plan in place? You are not the first person to wonder about this. It’s actually such a common question that the State has a set of complicated “laws of intestate succession” in their probate code. … [Read more...]

How do I Get a Trust for my Parents?

How Do I Get a Trust for my Parents?   It is wonderful that you want your parents to have a trust. A trust is one of the best ways a parent can ensure that their spouse, children and loved ones are cared for after their death. As a well-intentioned child, it may be difficult for you to hear that ultimately, only your parents can implement a trust for themselves. If your parents are resistant to … [Read more...]

My Relative Died…Now What?

  In your lifetime, you will deal with the loss of a loved one. It is probable that, at some point in your life, you will be responsible for the funeral arrangements and estate management for a deceased loved one. Most commonly, that person is your mother, father, or grandparent, but it could be your brother or sister, an aunt or uncle, or your adult son or daughter. In any of these cases, dealing with … [Read more...]

How do I give power? A deeper dive into the Durable Power of Attorney.

In my last blog post, I uncovered the need to plan for an unforeseen loss of capacity resulting from an accident or illness. Regarding financial matters, the main tool to combat the many problems incapacity can bring is called a General Durable Power of Attorney (aka “DPA”). The DPA is a critical document every adult, young or old, should have in place. In a nutshell, it determines who can sign financial documents … [Read more...]

When Would I Need a Durable Power of Attorney?

When people typically think of Estate Planning, they think of death, taxes and other inevitable situations.  Surprisingly, they rarely consider what would happen if they lost capacity.  Imagine a husband and wife who own a house and have 2.5 children.  In this scenario, both the husband and wife signed on the dotted line for the loan to buy the house.  Life seems to be chugging along perfectly, when the husband … [Read more...]

Why do I need Estate Planning?

Adults of all ages often ask me why they need to meet with an Estate Planning Attorney. The quick answer is simple: to prepare for those likely and inevitable phases in life when you cannot control your money or health decisions.  Often, the reality of this answer is dismissed because people are afraid to confront the hard truth that these phases could happen at any time in your life. The first phase is the loss of … [Read more...]