Martin Pierce: Make Or Update Your Will And Advance Directives

Tuesday, April 7, 2020 - by Martin Pierce
Martin Pierce
Martin Pierce

With the COVID-19 pandemic, we are having many people ask us about getting their wills and estate planning done and updated.  Our office is open and we are helping people daily with this important planning and with the signing of these documents.

We recommend that people have at least the following four basic estate planning documents that meet their current needs:

1. Will
2. Durable General Power of Attorney
3. Appointment of Healthcare Agent or Healthcare Power of Attorney and
4. Advance Care Plan or Living Will

A revocable (living) trust is also often used in estate planning as a will substitute, to avoid probate.  

In your will, you state who gets your assets and property, as well as how and when they will receive them.  Your will also names an executor to handle your affairs and directions under the will, and it can also name guardians for minor children and a trustee for any funds or property that should be held in trust.  Don’t forget to name back-ups for each of these positions, in case your first choice is unable to serve for some reason.

Your durable general power of attorney appoints someone to handle or assist you with your financial and business affairs if you are either unable to handle them yourself or you simply desire assistance.  Things from bill-paying to selling property can be handled, if needed.

The healthcare directives allow you to name someone as an agent to make medical decisions for you if you became unable to make them for yourself.  While the living will or advance care plan provides instructions to your healthcare agent/power of attorney as to what level of care and treatment you desire in certain circumstances, including up to “pulling the plug’ in certain dire situations.

Generally, two disinterested witnesses and a notary public will be needed in the signing process for these estate planning documents. 

There are many specifics and legal requirements involved with these legal documents, and the laws and requirements differ somewhat from state to state.  In addition, everyone’s family, belongings and situation is unique, so seek the assistance of a certified estate planning attorney to make certain you get things right.

Is it time to make or update your estate planning?  Simply call or email us and we can get you on the path to accomplishing this important task.  The simplest way to ensure that your funds, property and personal effects will be distributed as you desire is to prepare a will.  

(Copyright © 2020, all rights reserved.  Provided by Martin L. Pierce & John G. Huisman, MPierce@PierceHuismanLaw.com, John@PierceHuismanLaw.com, 423.648.4303.  Pierce & Huisman, Attorneys, provides Estate, Elder Law, Business, Probate, Conservatorship, and Special Needs legal services, among others.  Mr. Pierce is a Certified Estate Planning Specialist.  Licensed in Tennessee and Georgia.      

DISCLAIMER:  This article provides general coverage of its subject area.  It is provided free, with the understanding that the author, publisher and publication do not intend this article to be viewed as rendering legal advice or service.  If legal advice is sought or required, the services of a competent professional should be sought.  The author and the publisher shall not be responsible for any damages resulting from any error, inaccuracy or omission contained in this publication.)



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