Which Lawyer Does Wills and Estate Planning?

which lawyer does wills

If you want to ensure that your property passes where it should upon your death or have any other concerns about your estate, hiring a will attorney may be invaluable. They also handle other estate documents like living wills, medical power of attorneys and trusts.

An attorney specializing in wills can ensure your documents meet state-requirements regarding signatures, format and witnesses as well as identify issues that could lead to legal disputes.

Estate Planning

Estate planning is the practice of legally communicating your desires regarding possessions, guardianship of children and other important family issues. Estate plans usually consist of several key documents like your last will and testament, power of attorney agreement and living will (also referred to as advanced medical directives). A knowledgeable estate attorney can help organize and review assets as well as create legally enforceable documents that reflect these wishes.

Though it might be tempting to opt for an all-purpose lawyer when creating your will, this move could prove costly in the end. A specialized wills, trusts and estates lawyer has experience in this complex area of law that can ensure your will is valid, meeting state requirements while minimising tax burdens on your loved ones.

Power of Attorney

Powers of attorney are useful tools for helping manage assets and affairs when you no longer can. These agreements may be permanent or only valid until an incapacitating event, revocation or death occurs; restrictions and powers can be assigned as desired for maximum flexibility; many people choose their spouse, adult child or sibling as their agent; however this can create intrafamily tension and may not be the ideal fit in all instances.

Your power of attorney will lapse upon your death and will be replaced by the provisions of your last will and testament, with its executor distributing your estate according to your wishes and beneficiaries you’ve named. By having both tools in place, both financial and medical decisions will be managed effectively while you’re alive.

Health Care Directive

A health care directive (also referred to as an advance healthcare directive or medical directive) allows you to outline specific written instructions regarding your care in the event that you become incapacitated and are no longer able to speak for yourself. These may cover end-of-life decisions like do not resuscitate (DNR) orders, organ donation and dialysis treatments as well as painkiller prescription.

An advance healthcare directive (AHCD) and health care proxy should be used together to express your wishes regarding life-sustaining medical treatments. A doctor can help ensure your directives are clear and comprehensible, as well as identify any areas where desires conflict with one another or become impractical due to personal and professional constraints.

Your advance directives can be altered at any time as your circumstances and beliefs change, so long as new forms are created and distributed and any old copies disposed of. Specific requirements for changing directives vary by state – for instance, some states require signing a document in front of witnesses before signing it into effect.

Last Will and Testament

A last will and testament outlines an individual’s final wishes regarding property, assets, and possessions. Additionally, this document designates guardians for any minor children and provides directions on how to settle an estate as well as funeral arrangements.

Wills can be created by anyone with “testamentary capacity.” This means if a person can sign and execute legal documents on their own, they have enough maturity to create their will.

Contrary to a living will, last will and testament documents only take effect upon death; however, they can still serve as healthcare proxy documents that empower another individual to make medical decisions on your behalf while you’re alive. Many states require both living wills and last wills be signed before becoming effective; working with an attorney can help you understand their requirements as well as draft an ideal document tailored specifically for your circumstances.