When you’re ready to prepare your Last Will there are a few decisions you’ll need to make before the documents can be prepared for your signature.
If you have young children, you’ll need to appoint a guardian in the event you and your spouse (if you are married) die in a common accident. We suggest someone over the age of 18–possibly someone that has children of their own, and lives nearby so the children can remain in their same school. A sibling is often your best bet, but even grandparents can take this role if need be.
If you have beneficiaries that are minors, you’ll need to appoint a trustee that can manage those assets until the beneficiary reaches the age of majority (18) or older.
You’ll need to appoint an Executor and, perhaps, one alternate Executor. The Executor runs the show and should be a person who can balance a checkbook and meet deadlines.
Next you’ll need to decide who gets your property.
Usually when we prepare a Last Will we also will include a Durable Power of Attorney (“DPOA”). The DPOA is for managing your financial affairs if you are unable to do it for yourself, or just need a helping hand from one of your adult children or a close relative. It’s strictly for money, bank accounts, investments, real estate, etc. It can be as broad or as narrow as you please.
For your Durable Power of Attorney we need you to suggest an Attorney In Fact and one alternate Attorney in Fact.
Lastly we usually also prepare a Living Will, sometimes called a Health Care Proxy (“HCP”). This is the document that empowers a loved one, relative or close friend to make health care decisions on your behalf. We’ll need you to name a person that can make health care decisions in the event you become incapacitated. We also like to name an alternate for this role.
So here is a handy list for your first meeting with the attorney:
- Alternate Executor
- Attorney In Fact
- Alternate Attorney In Fact
- Health Care Proxy
- Alternate Health Care Proxy
After we discuss the people you’ll be naming in your instruments and your estate plan, we will need some time to properly draft your documents. We’ll send them to you for review and you can make changes at that time.
Finally, we’ll need you to come in and sign the documents with two witnesses and a Notary Public. You don’t need to bring anyone with you who is not signing.
During the Coronavirus pandemic we have set up special procedures for signing documents. These requirements are subject to change at any time. Click here to learn more.
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