Where there is a Will there is a way to protect your loved ones.
Many people think that a Will (as in Last Will and Testament) is just a way to give away your possessions when you die. But what few people realize is that a Will, combined with a Power of Attorney (POA) and Advanced Directive (Living Will), is a way you can care for your family and your own well-being.
A Will, Trust, Power of Attorney, and Living Will are together referred to as testamentary documents (e.g.,“Last Will and Testament”). While one of these will only have a limited effect, in the right combination these testamentary documents are a powerful tool in your life planning.
Recent developments in the law have increased the power of these documents to be useful tools while you are still alive. Financial and health management through reallocation of resources and appointment of agents allow you to prepare for possible life changes, protecting those you love. Your representatives are able to make decisions to benefit you and your family when you are no longer able to do so.
What is a Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney or POA is the common reference for a legal document by which you choose someone to handle your affairs. A POA can be very broad, covering your personal care, medical, property, and finances, or very narrow, giving only limited authority to someone under limited conditions.
Unlike a Court appointment, a POA is based on your choices: by a POA you determine who can handle what, based on the relationship you formed with another person, referred to as your Agent.
A POA is only valid during your lifetime and therefore is an important partner document to a Will, which only takes effect after your death. If you are in an accident, suffered from a debilitating illness are or in the middle of a cruise around the world, your POA is able to assure that your needs are addressed.
The Hospital Asked for my Living Will
A Living Will is technically called an “Advanced Directive” because it directs the person or persons whom you have chosen how to handle your medical care when your death is approaching. While general forms address only such matters as cardiac resuscitation or invasive procedures, at Lengert Law we prepare documents that are clear and personal.
I Don’t Have Enough to Bother with a Will
We frequently hear, “I don’t have much – my family can take care of it.” Unfortunately, the loss of a family member is a time of grief, magnified by the changes death imposes. Changes of title to automobiles, handling loans, access to bank accounts are all matters that need to be dealt with yet require a legal authorization. This authorization is obtained through a process known as “probate”.
Without a Will, relatives or those who can show an interest will need to appear before the Orphan’s Court and ask for recognition. Questions as to “who” and “when” and “what” will need to be addressed. A properly prepared Will reduces stress by streamlining the process and thereby minimizing additional grief.
In a properly prepared Will, the person chosen by you is granted authority to handle your affairs. A Will makes certain that distribution of your belongings, no matter how few, can be accomplished in a way that respects your wishes.
Do I Need a Trust?
You do not necessarily need a trust. As with any of these documents, what you need depends on your goals. Kim Lengert takes time before the drafting of the documents to meet with you. By listening and then asking the right questions, Kim is able to recommend a plan that will meet your desired goals with minimal stress upon those you love.
How Do I Get a Pennsylvania Will?
Contact Lengert Law. We will set up an appointment with you. Prior to the appointment you will receive an information packet to help you organize your thoughts. Kim will use your information as a conversation starting point, to learn more about you as a person. By understanding what is important to you we are able to prepare documents that address your own specific values and needs.
By working with you to clarify your goals, the preparation of your testamentary documents helps to alleviate concerns for the future, knowing that your caring will continue to impact the daily lives of your family.