Naming an Executor in Your Will
An important element of your will is naming an executor to manage your property and assets until it is distributed according to your wishes. An executor oversees the payment of any taxes owed, handles bills that come up after your death, and appears in court if the estate is in probate.
Living Wills & Advance Health Care Directives
A medical crisis that leaves you too ill to make your own health care decisions could happen at any age. Yet, more than two-thirds of the adult population has no living will or other advance health care directive, according to the American Bar Association.
An advance health care directive enables you to avoid confusion among your loved ones by clearly defining how you want decisions regarding your medical care to be made in the event that you’re too ill to speak for yourself. It provides instructions about your health care, and it allows you to appoint someone to make medical treatment decisions for you.
These legal documents tell your family, friends and health care professionals:
- The type of health care you want, such as whether to have CPR, a ventilator or artificial nutrition
- Whom you wish to make decisions on your behalf
- Orders not to resuscitate
- Organ donation
DIY Wills vs. Hiring an Attorney
There are many resources available to help you create your own will, but there are some circumstances in which it is advisable to hire an attorney to walk you through the process. According to the American Bar Association, you should consult a wills attorney in the following circumstances:
- Complications exist regarding past marriages, divorce or combined families.
- Anyone in your immediate family has international citizenship.
- You own or have an interest in property outside of your state of residence.
- Your assets exceed a certain amount (typically several million dollars, but this amount changes periodically).
- You or your soon-to-be spouse are marrying or re-marrying and complications related to trusts, property ownership or guardianship for minor children could crop up.
If you are at all concerned or confused about establishing a will, your best bet is to work with an attorney to ensure you complete the process with confidence. At GYL, we are happy to extend our estate planning legal services to drafting, reviewing / modifying, and executing wills for our clients. And, because we take a client-centered approach in all that we do, we are confident in our ability to help you establish a document that best suits your needs and interests.