Did you know that more than half of Americans do not have a Will in place? What’s preventing you from getting it done? While it’s never fun to think about your death, your Will protects your loved ones and can save them from unnecessary stress after you are gone. At Rech Law, P.C., attorney Katie Gilbert prepares the documents you need to set up your estate, including Wills, Living Wills, Powers of Attorney, and Trusts.
When it comes to a Last Will and Testament, Katie says “There’s no type of person I would recommend SHOULDN’T have a will.” Some people may think they aren’t old enough or they don’t have enough assets to need a Will. This is wrong. After you die, there is always going to be something you have that means something to a loved one. A Will prevents the State from deciding what happens with your belongings.
When you have children, having a Will in place becomes even more important. While it can be hard to think about what happens to your children if both you and your spouse die, naming guardians for them is imperative. Make sure you talk to your appointed guardians before naming them to make sure they agree to the appointment. If you created your Will before you had a child, it will need to be updated once you become a parent. It is always a good idea to update your Will with any other life changing event, like marriage and divorce.
An important person named in your Will is your Executor. This is someone you trust to carry out your wishes after your death. It is usually a spouse, parent or adult child. You will be asked to name other Executors in case your first appointment dies. As with guardians, make sure these people know the role they play in your Will.
While a Will takes care of your assets and outlines your wishes after your death, a Living Will states your wishes for your end-of-life medical care in case you are in a state where you cannot communicate your decisions. This document helps guide your loved ones and your medical providers so they care for you exactly how you desire. You can include as much detail as you’d like in your Living Will and it is usually accompanied by a Healthcare Power of Attorney that allows another person to legally make medical decisions for you. When you die, so does your Living Will, unless it sets out your wishes for organ donation or your autopsy.
In some situations, a Trust is preferred. This document is essentially an agreement between three people; you, the beneficiary to any property in your estate and your appointed trustee. A trustee will manage the property held in the trust and how it gets paid out to a beneficiary. We suggest speaking to a Tax Attorney before deciding if a Trust is right for you.
The process to create your Will is much easier than you think and can be done in just a couple of weeks’ time. Katie will send you a questionnaire to fill out first. She will then draft the documents you need and answer any questions you might have. After working with her to finalize any changes, you will then come into the office so that you can sign the documents in person, in front of two uninterested witnesses and a notary. You can also have it signed and notarized outside our office, if that is more convenient. A copy just needs to be returned to Katie when it is completed. Our office charges a flat fee of $450 to draft the documents needed for your estate, which includes a Last Will and Testament, a Living Will, a Healthcare Power of Attorney, a Durable Power of Attorney, and a HIPPA Authorization Form. It is $750 to include a Trust.
We understand thinking about these decisions can be overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be. We’re here to help you so that when the time comes, your loved ones aren’t dealing with a mess that can easily be avoided. Call our office today so that Katie can help you get started.