Wills and Estate Planning

The Last Will and Testament, a health care power of attorney, and a durable power of attorney are three instruments that comprise a simple estate plan.  These instruments provide specific instructions for the handling of a person’s estate and grant authority to a designated person to act on your behalf during your lifetime. The Will is the instrument whereby an individual specifies the manner in which her or his property should be distributed to beneficiaries or heirs upon death.  A Will also may contain provisions concerning the guardianship of minor children the payment of taxes, and other matters.   The decision to make a Will is, of course, very personal, and should be done with care and with consultation with trusted legal counsel. Similar to a Will, disability planning is an essential part of a complete estate plan. A power of attorney is used to allow an agent to handle the financial, business, and other affairs of the principal or person who is the maker of the power.  A power of attorney includes a General Power of Attorney is effective only upon the disability or incapacity of the maker. Like the durable power of attorney explained below, the general power of attorney is a substitute for a court-appointed guardian or conservator.  A Durable Power of Attorney is an instrument that gives authority to an agent when the maker of the power becomes incapacitated. The durable power of attorney is effective once signed and continues despite the disability or incapacity of the maker of the power.  It is a substitute for a court-appointed guardian or conservator. A Health Care Power of Attorney...