Estates / Wills
LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT
Many people are under the misunderstanding that if a person dies without a Will, his/her property will pass to the State. While this can occur, it is rare because every state has statutes that direct how a decedent's property is to be distributed following death. However, generally it is advisable to have a Will drawn by an Attorney because it can reduce probate expense and simplify the duties of the fiduciary in the administration of the estate. In addition, a Will is the only testamentary method by which you can specify how you wish to have your property distributed after your death.
If you have questions concerning how you would like to have your property distributed after your death, please contact our office and schedule an appointment. One of our attorneys will advise you if you need a Will, and if so, explain how you can best assure that your property passes to your family or friends in the manner you so choose.
LIVING WILL AND DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY
Unlike a Last Will and Testament, which only becomes effective upon your death, a Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney allows you to direct medical providers in the manner in which you are treated if you are unable to make medical decisions due to your inability to communicate because of a terminal illness or incapacity. By utilizing one or both documents, you can have an active voice in your medical care, and you can direct that you do not want heroic or life sustaining measures to be administered if it has been determined that you have an incurable condition from illness or accident.
If you would like to discuss your medical care concerns, please contact our office and make an appointment. One of our attorneys will advise you about the difference between a living Will and Durable Power of Attorney, and you can decide if this is an option that you would like to choose.
After the death of an individual, someone must petition the Probate Court for Authority to administer the estate. Depending on the monetary value of the decedent's assets, it may be possible to avoid a full administration of the estate, and an application can be filed with the Court to relieve the estate from administration. Regardless of the size of the estate, the fiduciary is required to gather all assets, pay all debts, and after direction from the Court, make final distribution to the parties entitled to receive the decedent's property.
Our office has handled hundreds of estates over the years ranging from very small to very large. If a loved one has passed on, and you have questions concerning the procedure necessary to transfer property, please contact our office and one of our attorneys will discuss the procedure and estimate the cost necessary to administer the estate.