Estate Planning and Elder Law
Everyone Needs Estate Planning at Some Point in Their Life
But Not Everyone Needs, or Wants, the Same Kind of Estate Lawyer
If you have a stock portfolio that rivals Warren Buffet's, and Bill and Melinda Gates are calling you for investment advice, you are not looking for your estate planning lawyer around here. For that type of person, estate planning is almost a full-time hobby. But, there are many people who should be thinking about their estate plan who maybe never got around to it, or did it many years ago and it no longer suits their current stage of life. For you, Freidel and Kramer's approach is exactly what you need.
But We're Young and We Don't Have Much…
When we sit down to talk about an "estate plan," with a younger person, one topic that is very important to discuss is whether that young person is a parent. Responsible parenting requires the naming of guardians, the creation of trusts for any bequests to minors, and trustees need to be named to handle such trusts. Even if there are no children, does the client have some measure of responsibility for any person, be it a parent or sibling, a spouse or a civil union partner? Arrangements must be made for the transfer of responsibility or shared property.
If you do not have a Will, State law controls what happens to your property, be it your extensive Magic–The Gathering Card collection, or your savings account. You might want it going to your brother and your parents, but you might prefer it go to your long-time, live-in boyfriend of seven years, who made regular deposits into that bank account that you never got around to adding his name to…
You need a will.
Medical Directives or "Living Wills"
Regardless of age, every adult should have a medical directive. Even before we get into a discussion of the Estate, which is what the person, the client, would be leaving behind, there are issues of who among those people who have a connection to them gets to make decisions for them pertaining to their living or dying? Who, in other words, would be their Health Care Representative? As many clients like to phrase this, "who pulls the plug?"
Litigation can ensue, costly, emotionally draining litigation, when it is not clear who has the right to make health care choices for someone who can no longer speak for himself. A medical directive serves two major purposes: first, it tells the medical professionals what the patient would say in most circumstances if they could speak, and two, it identifies who is empowered by them to speak in their place when they cannot communicate in any way, even if only by the blink of an eye.
A medical directive allows you to retain control over your life…and your end of life.
When Do I Need A New Will?
Common sense is a hallmark of the type of practice we've tried to develop at Freidel & Kramer, and nowhere is that more necessary than in the field of Estate Law, and especially in Elder Law. Generally, a client knows they need a new will when they read it themself and find that it no longer suits the people in their lives.
When the children they were providing guardians for are now middle-aged and have college students of their own–then the Will probably needs redoing.
When you are no longer married to the same person you were married to before–or, you have many more children and grandchildren, or much more in the way of assets then you did before. Then it is time to talk about a new will, and maybe consider some more complex estate planning, such as trusts and tax shifting plans.
A consultation is free. Call and make an appointment to speak with Ms. Freidel and determine whether you need your will updated. It makes sense.
What About a Power of Attorney?
There are times when a power of attorney is necessary, and there are people for whom a power of attorney is a wise business decision. A power of attorney allows the person named as your agent, your "attorney in fact".