What Happens If I Die Without a Will?
Dying without a will means you are what the courts consider “intestate,” which means laws of your state determine how your property is distributed. In most cases, your assets would go to your spouse,
This is an unprecedent period of time as the COVID 19 virus continues to affect lives and businesses across our nation. There are many people who count on you every day; parents, children, spouses and siblings. It is important to have a plan in place for any minor children, family members and loved ones who are dependent on you for support. To be ready for anything this, or any other pandemic can throw at you make sure you have the following documents:
1. Will - A Will or Last Will & Testament states how your assets are to be distributed at death. The Will names your personal representative who will act on your behalf and names who will be the children's guardians. You can set up a trust through the Will so that money and property left to your children will be protected until they reach a certain age or ages.
2. Trust - A Trust can hold assets during your life and set forth how they are to be distributed after your death. This is an ideal vehicle for placing proceeds from your life insurance and retirement accounts, often the bulk of your estate, so that they will be protected until your children are older. You can place property such a an out of state vacation property in Trust to avoid probate in another state. Many families like placing assets in a Trust as it shields it from public view once your estate goes into probate following death.
3. Appointment of A Guardian - A guardian is named in a will but you can also have a separate document for this. This document is also good for naming a temporary guardian should you become incapacitated and until you recover.
4. General Durable Power of Attorney - This document confers certain powers to a named agent. The named agent will have the power to make decisions and exercise powers with respect to your assets. If you are sick and in the hospital your agent can pay bills and transfer assets to protect them on your behalf.
5. Health Care Power of Attorney - This document names a person to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do it yourself. Your named agent can authorize surgery, request pain relief or authorize medical procedures on your behalf.
6. Advance Directive for Health Care - Also known as a Living Will, this document allows an individual to make end of life decisions on your behalf. It can authorize a person to end life or sustain life consistent with your beliefs.
7. HIPPA Authorization - This document authorizes the release of medical records to the person named in the document. It permits doctors and health care workers to communicate with persons named in the document.
The attorneys at Penglase & Benson are experienced in these documents and can help you create documents to meet your goals. These documents will give you peace of mind during this stressful time and allow you to be prepared for any pandemic.