Estate planning, including the preparation of Wills and Powers of Attorney, is a way to be prepared and to plan ahead for life’s eventualities, whether it is disability, incapacity or death. It is a good idea to review your family’s financial situation and insurance. You need to find out what legal documents you can have drafted to take care of your own needs and those of your family, such as a Last Will and Testament, a Durable Financial Power of Attorney as well as a Healthcare Power of Attorney and Living Will. An elder law attorney can best prepare documents to be sure that they are done properly for the protection of you and your family.

Learning what can happen if you have not taken action prior to an emergency can be an eye-opening experience for many people. For example, if Wills are not prepared, state law dictates how a deceased person’s property is distributed. If Powers of Attorney are not prepared and a person becomes unable to handle his or her own affairs, a guardianship may need to be established by a court. Also, if Living Wills are not prepared prior to becoming incapacitated, a person may not have a say in his or her own end of life decisions but will be leaving those decisions up to family members or the court.

Estate planning usually involves the review of one’s affairs and plans for death, disability and incapacity with an attorney. It is best to make a plan and review it periodically since many things can happen during a person’s life. Estate planning usually involves the preparation of Last Wills and Testament, a Durable Financial Power of Attorney as well as a Healthcare Power of Attorney and Living Will.  Trusts may also be helpful.