Living Wills

Here we are yet again. I am a paralegal not a lawyer so this is in no way to be taken as legal advice this is meant to be legal information only. Just so you know when a lawyer or a paralegal becomes involved your problem become an Issue.

Next on my list is Living Wills which is also called an advanced medical directive.  You see a Living Will is all about what you want to happen while you are still alive and can’t speak for yourself.  You see a Living Will deals with what happens to your money, your kids, to your house and most importantly how you want to be taken care of while you are mentally out of the game.  Let’s not kid around you are going to be very busy fighting for your life to take care of small things. Like what bills get paid and who is feeding your dog.

Let’s start with you are on life supports, a Living Will lets your loved ones know how your doctors can keep you attached to those god awful machines before they have let you go.  If you have advanced cancer you can limit how much your family can do to keep you alive if you have a heart attack

Or say you find certain medical treatments go against your religious beliefs, with a Living Will, on file you can prevent your doctor or some well-meaning loved one from letting those treatments being done, if you are out of it.

A Living will also get covers who you have assigned a Health Care power of attorney or more importantly a Durable power of attorney too. Power of attorney Covering who you want making medical decisions while you are out of it. Including who you want to take care of your assets and more importantly who is taking care your children.


SIDE-NOT: If you have underage children and the other parent is unable or to be polite unqualified to take them. I can’t say this loud enough you need to set up an assigned guardianship for you children set up. Otherwise your Kids could be given to the 1st blood relative to claim them or the state will get them. If the state gets them it could cost your blood relative a small fortune to get them back.

SIDE-NOTE; An Asset in the legal world is anything such as a house, car, jewelry, bank accounts or stocks and bonds. Say you have written a book and it sells fairly well. It can be anything as long as it has a money value attached to it.

Just so you know a Living Will must be witnessed by your current primary doctor and if you are fighting a possibly terminal illness it has to be co-signed by the doctor in charge   of helping you fight your illness.

Unfortunately the rules and regulations for validating Living Will can and do differ from state to state.

Durable Power of Attorneys.

Hi there just so you know I am not a Lawyer I am a Paralegal. So this in no way to be considered as legal advice. Let’s not forget when a lawyer or a paralegal becomes involved your problem becomes an ISSUE.

Side-Note:  The person you choose for your Power of Attorney is your agent. That is how they will be referred to in any other legal documents related to your power of attorney.

Okay, let’s talk about the Durable Power of Attorney or P.O.A. The deference between a durable power of attorney and the ones I talked about last week is fairly simple. Once a regular power of attorney has been ended its over you can never use it again. For example you have set up a Health Care Power of Attorney you appoint a special someone to look after you if something bad happens. Then something bad happens and your special someone does step in to look after you and you do get better great happy ending well done…  However, 6 months later you are in an auto accident and if you haven’t created a new health care power of attorney. Sorry, your special friend can’t do a thing for you. You are on your own until blood relative gets there. With a durable power of attorney you can set things up so that your special friend can step in no matter how many times you get hurt or sick. But keep their limit their power to only to when you are sick and or injured.

Now, to cover the 2 types of a durable power of attorney. 1st is the medical durable power of attorney. This person is who y

you want making the medical decisions for you when you can’t.  2nd a fiscal durable power of attorney.  This Solider handles your money and sees to it that your bills get paid while you are out of it.  As I said before a person you give authority too in a power of attorney does not have to be a lawyer. It can be anyone you choose as long as they are of legal age.

Side-Note: Legal age means being old enough to vote, sign a contract and be responsible for you actions.  In all the United States this means being at least 18 years old. Old enough to kill or be killed for your country but not old enough to drink.

Just so you know, you can choose just one person to be both your medical and a financial durable power of attorney agent at the same time. Most often though most people don’t.

The fact is a durable power of attorney is a major portion of a Living Will. I will be getting into what makes up a Living Will next week.




Probate 4

As I said before and I will say yet again. I am not a lawyer, I am a Paralegal.  So this is in no way to be considered legal advice only legal information, let’s not forget when a lawyer of a paralegal becomes involved your problem becomes an ISSUE.

Just so you know are four major types of Guardianship.  There is a personal guardian who is responsible for medical and or money decisions. .  The Estate guardian which is needed to protect your stuff when you can’t.  The Personal & Estate guardian which take care of both at the same time.  Last is the temporary guardianship, this is usually an emergency court order given when someone’s  loved one suddenly becomes unable to take care of themselves. However it will cost about $60, when the loved one gets better, for the Guardian or the Guarded One to cancel it.  It also can have a limited life span.

However guardianship do need approval from probate judge especially under a Living Will or if three are children are involved. A guardianship can also be challenged by someone who wants to take over the assigned guardianship.  If the Guardianship is not challenged it usually costs about $50 to get court approval.

Okay moving onto a Power of Attorney.  1st and foremost the person you choose to be power of attorney does not have to be a lawyer.  It can be anyone you choose.

There are 5 major types of power attorney.  1st is the general power of attorney, which is mostly used when you have a business or assets you want someone  to look after a while you are traveling for a couple of years. Or say you don’t want anyone bothering you while contemplating the universe at a monastery.

Next is a Limited Power of Attorney this is almost identical to a general. Reasons of giving someone power over your assets is pretty much the same except like the title says, the power is limited to only one thing.  For example you’re traveling somewhere overseas and you are receiving benefit check from a court case you won. You can leave someone a Limited Power of Attorney so they can take the check get it cashed, pay a few bills like your rent and get the rest deposited into your bank account. That way you can get your money and spend it while having fun in Ireland.

Then there is the Health Care Power of Attorney. Say you are not married and live a long way from anyone in your family. With a Heath Care Power of Attorney you can appoint a special friend to look after you.  Your friend would be able to make the decisions’ a doctor needs to save your life after you have just been in a devastating auto accident.  It is used a lot in states that can’t seem to see same-sex couples. You need to make sure your health insurance company has a copy as well as your friend.

Next week I will cover the Springing and Durable Power of Attorney.

Probate 3


Time to get back to work, I am a Paralegal not a Lawyer. So this is in no way to be construed or taken for legal advice, so as before this is only legal information. Let’s not forget that when a layer or a paralegal becomes involved your problem becomes an ISSUE.

Picking up on Probate. Probate is a legal system focused on taking care of things after you die or if you become unable to look after yourself because of a major injury. Namely it takes care of who is in charge and how someone will handle your Will and take care of your Estate after you leave or if you become injured too. Simply put, Probate Law will make sure your wishes are followed and no one is cheated.

Right now I am focused on Living Wills. Living Wills deal with what you want to happen when bad things happen to you but you are still in the land of the living.

SIDE-NOTE:  A Testamentary Will is a Will telling your loved ones what you want to happen after you leave this world.  It is a legal document filed with your lawyer, or left with a loved one. Either after you leave or while you are still living it has been validated by the Probate Courts. This will cost your Estate $190. Once again this price can varies depending on which state you in. But not by very much.

Just so you know there are several different types of Wills. Such dealing with different types of problems and situations. I will try to explain the different types later on. However if you have any concerns about which Will you may need; Please God See a Lawyer!!

In my last Probate article I talked about Conservators. Now let’s talk about Guardians. The most well-known Guardianship involves children. In such a case you have made a Testamentary Will or a regular Will. In this Will you named someone you trust to look after your children A Guardian is very similar to a Conservator, except that a guardian has limitations for example a child guardianship has to be approved by the courts.   There are several different types of Guardians in addition to child guardianship. Using the more common children guardianship as an example, you could assign someone to look after your kids and another person to look after any property or money you leave them. It depends on what part and or how much of your life you want your guardian to protect.  Under a Living Will you can appoint Cousin Fred to look after your money and only your money and with the same Living Will you can appoint your mother to look after your kids.  You can even appoint your 12 year old niece Harriet as Guardian for your beloved dog Niki.

Next week I will be talking more about Guardianship and about the Durable Power of Attorney. Just so you know you do not have to be an Attorney to have Durable Power of Attorney.

Probate 2

Again, I am not a lawyer I am a paralegal. So this isn’t legal advice this is legal information. Also let us not forget when a lawyer or a paralegal becomes involved your problem becomes an issue.

All right let’s talk about Conservatorship, A Conservatorship does come under probate but a Conservator can also be appointed under Family Law. A Conservator is someone a probate court judge allows to have control over your medical, business, financial and personal affairs while you are laying there strapped into life support. Also a Conservator could be appointed if you have suffered such a severe head trauma that you, at least for the time being, have a hard time figuring out how to put your pants on.  It is going to cost whoever asks for conservatorship $400 in filing fees. That doesn’t include support documentation an expert in going to have to sign off on.  Most Conservators will have to hire an attorney to deal with the huge pile of legal issues that go with their job and that can really run up the legal bill. All of which is billed to and or reimbursed by your Estate.  Additionally a Conservator literal has the right to sell your house and treasures without your okay. Unfortunately, there is very little you can do to get your stuff back if your conservator does rip you off if don’t have a Living Will/ Testament Will. On the flip side if a loved one becomes your conservator, he or she becomes responsible for all your debts. It is their job to see that all your bills get paid. This means that they will have access to all your banks accounts, social security payments any source of income you have. However, even after your loved one has been forced to empty your bank accounts and has sold everything of value you have to pay your bills, Debtors can still come after your loved one for any money you may still owe and take their money and or assets. Now if you manage to recover thing can become really difficult. Proving to the court you no longer need a ‘conservator’.  You see if your ‘conservator’ fights you this will cost you in lawyer and court fees. Under Conservatorship getting access to your money to pay for a lawyer to help you get rid of the conservator is up to the conservator and or probate court.

Having a Living Will is the best and cheapest way to avoid most of this mess. With a Living Will you can appoint someone you totally trust to become your ‘Legal Guardian’ and or ‘Conservator’ if you become too ill to take care of your needs.  A Living Will fully  or validated in probate courts you can make sure that the Conservator and or Guardian appointed over you is protected and double sure they are someone you trust.

Under a straight Will there are executors. Executor is someone you have appointed to make sure your last wishes are carried out.

More on Probate coming next week.

Probate Court Costs

Once again, I am not a lawyer I am a paralegal. So this is not intended to be legal advice only legal information. Also let’s not forget that when a lawyer or a paralegal becomes involved your problem or concern becomes an issue.

To get started there are two things I did not cover last week. Testate and Intestate.  Being Testate is having a notarized Will and or a Living Will that is registered with the probate courts or at the very least left with a lawyer or a loved one.  Intestate means you don’t have a Will. Let’s be honest dying without a Will will make things incredibly difficult for your loved ones.

There are some states like Colorado which accept what is commonly called Holographic Will. A Holographic Will is very easy to create and 20 times more difficult to use. To create a Holographic Will all you have to do is get a notebook write down your wishes sign it and leave it someplace where you hope that somebody you trust will find it.  Once found your loved ones will have to get your Holographic Will validated in the probate courts.

In most states 2 witness signatures are needed to help validate a Will. There are some states that do require up to 3 signatures. .Someone who can give you a usable witness signature is someone who does not benefit from your Estate.  The idea is these signatures will help prove that you created your Will without being forced too.   Also that no one faked it, trying to rip off your Estate.

Okay, moving on the most important part of a validating your Will is getting the dumb thing registered.  You can register you Will your local probate court system,  Sometimes you may be asked to file your Will with the county recorder’s office. This will cost you about $67. The fee may be a little different depending where you live.

Now you do not have file your Will with the Probate Court before you leave. But, I can’t say this loud enough your Will must be somewhere it can be easily found. Like I said before you can leave your Will with your lawyer or a loved one.  However after you die you’re Will must go through Probate Court to be validated.

SIDE-NOTE:  Validation simply put is satisfying a judge that these are indeed your last wishes and instructions. That no one bamboozled you or forced you into creating your Will. You’d be surprised how many fools will submit phony Wills trying to rip off Estates.

Now having a Will validated proving testamentary of your Estate will cost $190 as of 2012.   Oddly having your Estate proved Intestate or without a Will will cost your loved ones $150.

More Probate to come. You might be surprised how complex dying can be.


All right, once again I am not a lawyer, I am a Paralegal, so anything you read is not to be taken as, construed as, intended to be taken as legal advice.  Let’s not forget when a lawyer or a paralegal becomes involves you problem becomes an issue.

Okay let’s talk about Probate. Probate is a legal system focused on taking care of things after you die. Namely it takes care of who administers and how someone handles your Wills and your Estate after you leave. Simply put, Probate Law will make sure your wishes are followed and no one is cheated.

Let’s start with Wills.  Wills are binding legal documents describing what you would like done after your death.  For example you have an ancient beautiful grandfather’s clock that has been handed down through generations and you want it to go to your great-grandson Eric who has been in love with your clock since he was two.  With a Will you can make sure he gets it. Also if you think there might be a huge fight over your clock and you’re afraid that fight might hurt your family, you can order your clock sold and have the money equally divided among your heirs.  You can also leave directions on how to deal with your physical remains.  If you have children, you can leave directions about who you want to take care of them.

Speaking of wills, let’s talk about a living will.  A living will is once again a legal binding document. It deals with what you want done if things go bad with your health.  You can direct how long you want to be kept on life support, or how far your doctors can go as they try to save your life.  If your heart stops do you want CPR?  Who can make decisions about your care or what life support measures can be used in your care. If can’t think for yourself but don’t need life support who do you want making decisions about your care.

Probate law also covers your life insurance policies. Making sure your loved ones gets their money and what you want done with it gets done.

An Estate is your money, for example bank accounts, even to your last tax refund and personal property such as cars, jewelry and art work. Of course let’s not forget your house.

SIDE-NOTE: Just so you know the infamous Estate Tax as of 2013 does not come into play unless you have property and assets worth over $5,250,000.  I don’t know too many people in my world

with those kind of assets.

SIDE-NOTE; An Asset in the legal world is anything such as a house, car, jewelry bank accounts or stocks and bonds. Or say you have written a book and it sells fairly well. It can be anything as long as it has a money value attached to it.

This is Probate next week I will be getting into the actual costs of the Probate Legal System.