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.

To repeat myself, the more you have in ASSETS, CHILDREN CONCERNS AND BUSINESS OPERATIONS THE MORE YOU NEED A LAWYER.

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.

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 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.