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Basic Estate Planning Documents Needed by Adults in 2012

February 01, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 197

All adults should have a will so that their wishes regarding distribution of their property and the care of any children can be known and legally effectuated upon their death. This article discusses the will and other important documents such as health care proxy, living will, HIPAA release and organ donor card. This article also discusses why it is preferable to have an attorney prepare these important papers and how much an attorney should cost in 2012.

It is imperative for all adults to have a will (as part of a comprehensive estate plan) so that the wishes of the individual, not the rote operation of state law, control the distribution of assets and provide for care of children.

The author will personally prepare a will tailored for an individual for a bit more then a software prepared will costs. Why is it important to have a will tailored to you and your specific needs and requirements? Let's take one example, suppose you have young children but want trusted friends not family to take care of the children in the event of your death. The will will operate to override the law and allow your friends to be guardians of your children. An attorney might be able to give you advice about how to allocate your money so that your children are provided for using a basic form of trust for minors.

Another way an attorney might be helpful is preparing a provision in each of the husband and wife's wills that controls property distribution in the event that husband and wife die together in an airplane or car accident, death in a common disaster. There are numerous examples why it is preferable to use an attorney to prepare a will.

In addition, an attorney prepared will can save a great deal of money and time during the probate process (which is the legal process that ensues after death of the person making the will). Bottom line: all adults should have a will and although an attorney drafted will is preferable, it is better to have a basic will then no will at all.

How much should it cost to have an attorney prepare your will and other associated documents. For a married couple of average wealth, it should cost around $600 and the attorney could even come to your home or office or any other location of your choice to prepare tailored documents and explain everything to you. For an individual, it will cost less. Many attorneys such as the author accept credit cards or credit payment plans so that it is feasible to afford to prepare these vital documents with the aid of an attorney. Please contact the author for additional pricing information as the author is flexible on pricing in many instances.

A power of attorney is a very important and powerful legal tool that is effective while the person grating the power is alive. If you become incapacitated or travel, a power of attorney can authorize your spouse or other trusted person to conduct transactions while you are unable to. It is important to have a power of attorney prepared using the guidance of an attorney because it is such an important tool.

The agent, who is the person you have granted powers to, can act as if he or she were you. They can sell your house, give gifts in your name, etc. An attorney can help insure that you are giving the powers you intend at the time you intend to give them and that the power of attorney is drafted using the correct format.

A health care proxy is a legal document which assigns an individual or individuals to make health care decisions for you in the event you are unable to do so for yourself. A living will is a legal document which expresses your wishes regarding medical treatment in the event you become unable to express your desires at a later date.

A HIPAA release is a legal document which allows a person you designate to receive your health care information in order to make an informed decision on how to treat you in the event you become incapacitated. An organ donor card provides your wishes regarding how to dispose of your body upon death.

The author urges all adults to prepare the above discussed documents, preferably utilizing an attorney draftsman. It is not that expensive to use an attorney and the documents will be properly executed, witnessed and notarized, where necessary.

Michael Spevack graduated NYU School of Law with a JD degree in 1992. He was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1993 and has been an attorney in good standing in New York State since his admission. Michael Spevack runs a general practice law firm with a sub-emphasis on estate planning and elder law. Call him toll free at 1-866-LAW-MIKE (1-866-529-6453) or visit his website at

Source: EzineArticles
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