What happens if you can no longer make decisions? Who is in charge of making major health decisions, financial if you are no longer capable?The most important document that I will draft for folks is the power of attorney. This allows an individual of your own choosing to pay your bills, take care of your accounts, buy or sell property in your name if they feel it is important. I have stories wherein certain situations where this was incredibly important. For example, if someone is in the hospital in another state, or foreign country and they need to pay their rent or mortgage here, then this would allow an individual to do this on behalf of that person. I also draft a medical power of attorney that allows a person to make all medical decisions on behalf of someone who is not capable of doing it for themselves. For example, if someone is in a coma. In my opinion, the power of attorney and medical power of attorney are essential to any estate plan.
What do I do with my will after it is executed?I always tell people that they should keep the will in a safety deposit box or some other place which is safe. Always let those close to you, particularly your executor where the will is so that when the time comes it will be easy to find. Other estate planning documents, such as the power of attorney should also be kept in a safe place that is also known to the executor and whoever is appointed as power of attorney.
How long does it take to get my power of attorney?You will make an appointment to come to see so that we can determine exactly what type of estate planning that you need. For example, you may want advice on Medicaid/Medicare planning. Or it may be that you feel like trust is a good option for your needs. After we talk I will give you my thoughts on how I think you should proceed. With very few exceptions, the simple estate plan can be created within about 7-10 days. This would be will, living will, power of attorney and medical power of attorney. In ending, I would just like to say that the benefits of an estate plan are that it takes so much of the burden off of your heirs. You are making decisions now so that they don’t have to do it later.
David Steele – Estate Planning & Probate Attorney
David’s practice includes representing clients in banking, real estate, corporate, probate, and general litigation matters. David is admitted to practice both in Kentucky and Ohio.