You care about your spouse. You care about your children. You care about your family. You care that the hard work you have done no matter your age will help the ones you love.
All the above reasons and more are why you should not be afraid to make a will. Making a will doesn't mean you're feeling doom and dread. You're simply being smart to ensure that if something happens to you, you're in control of whomever YOU want to receive the material benefits you have earned in your life.
If you pass without a legal will, State intestate laws will dictate how your estate is divided - not you.
Also, a will allows you to select someone YOU want in charge of administering exactly the provisions of your will by designating what is known as an executor or executrix.
This person is charged with making sure the instructions you put in your will are followed. A good lawyer can draft your will as simple or as complex as you wish and as your estate requires.
It's easy to put off making a will. Your health is good. You feel fine and energetic. But don't put this important matter off until you "feel like you need it." Tragedies and unexpected circumstances could affect us at any time. You don't want to leave your loved ones with no plan or direction of who you want to leave in charge and how your belongings should be divided.
Power of Attorney (POA, Living Will, Advanced Directive)
There are two main types of Powers of Attorney: 1) Healthcare 2) General legal matters.
A POA for Healthcare appoints the person or persons you want to talk with doctors or nurses about your medical issues in the event you are unable to do so yourself. In that directive, you should include your wishes as to the degree of care you want in if you are in an end-of-life situation (i.e., use all heroic measures, regardless of your situation; or an instruction to do nothing - allow nature to take its course and a natural death to follow; or you may choose a middle-ground of level of care.)
Whatever your choice, the only way to truly protect your wishes, what YOU want, is to have an attorney draw up a living will so your loved ones know exactly what your healthcare wishes are and who is designated to communicate those wishes to healthcare personnel.
A General or Legal POA is a document that appoints someone to act for you if you are unable or incapable to do so for yourself with regard to all matters other than healthcare.
For most people, you want to have a trusted individual in place to act for you in banking, financial or business matters while you either are incapacitated or for some other reason, such as an extended vacation or other time away.
A general power of attorney may be as expansive or as limited as you choose it to be. A knowledgeable attorney can help you decide the extent of the POA. For instance, one may wish to give a limited power of attorney to a real estate agent for the sole purpose of a real estate transaction on a certain date; or you may grant a power of attorney to someone you trust over your bank account if you find it difficult to manage yourself; or you may authorize a financial planner or stock broker to buy or sell for you.
It's really your wish. And that's the most important point about powers of attorney and wills. Work with an attorney now to craft a will and a POA that reflects exactly what YOU want. Don't wait until a decision is either forced upon you or, in the case where you have no prepared legal directives, decisions are made for you.
Make a will. You care too much about the people you love not to do so.
This article is sponsored by W. Scott Brannen, an attorney in Statesboro. He can be reached at (912) 489-8648, or visit him at 323 S. Main St.