Archive for the ‘Power of Attorney’ Category

Another New Year! Time to review your estate plan!

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

Happy New Year!  I hope that everyone has a great and wonderful 2013.

And, to get things off to a good start, I’d like to suggest that you review your estate plan to make sure it is up to date and has taken into account all of life’s changes since you created the previous version.

New members to the family?  Some members no longer with us?  Perhaps a new pet that you want to make sure is taken care of if you are not able to care for him or her yourself?  Have you become involved in a new charitable organization that you think deserves a gift?  Perhaps the person you have named as the agent under your Power of Attorney is no longer capable or willing to do the job?  Perhaps someone in your family has received a college degree that would make them a better fit for the job of executor or agent?  Perhaps you have new acquisitions that need to be re-titled in the name of your trust?  Planning a job change this year?  Perhaps retirement?  Is your health status changing?

This is a good time to take a few minutes to just think about these ideas.  And if you think your estate plans needs to be updated, please give us a call.  We’d be glad to help!

If you have any questions about this or any other legal subject, please feel free to give us a call at 757-234-4650 or visit our website at http://www.BeaversLaw.com.

The Difficult Talk About End of Life Issues

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

When my kids were little, I worried about ‘the talk’.  You know…the one about the ‘birds and the bees’.  Like most things in life, it wasn’t as bad as the worry beforehand!

Now is the time to have another type of difficult talk.  This is the talk about end of life issues.  What sort of medical treatment do you want in case you are found to have a terminal disease?  Who should be in control of your finances in case you develop Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia?  Who do you want to take care of your kids if both parents are hurt and not capable of taking care of them?

I wrote a post some time ago about whether or not you need a Power of Attorney.  This was followed by a post on who you should name as your Power of Attorney.  Yes, these posts are pretty old, but they also still make good sense, just like some good advice such as “don’t spend more than you make”.

Another difficult topic for ‘the talk’ is how to handle medical decisions if you are not able to make those decisions yourself.  Again, I had a previous post about making an Advance Directive that you can find here.

The holidays are a time when families get together and it might be a good time for ‘the talk’.

I know people don’t want to dwell on unpleasant things and the incapacity or death of a loved one is unpleasant.  But I have found through personal experience that it is so much easier to go through those difficult times when I knew what my loved one wanted to have happen.

Sometimes it might be easier to have this talk with an outsider.  As an estate planning attorney, I have this conversation with clients and families all the time.

No, this isn’t because I like being ghoulish.  I do this because this type of talk can give the gift of peace of mind to the entire family. Things are always easier to face when we have a plan.

If you already have these documents in place, this is a good time to review them to make sure your wishes are current.  Sometimes we change our minds and that’s ok.  And sometimes we have the documents in place but haven’t discussed them with the rest of the family.  Now might be a good time for that talk!

If you have any questions about this or any other legal subject, please feel free to give us a call at 757-234-4650 or visit our website at http://www.BeaversLaw.com.

A Unique Graduation Present

Monday, May 30th, 2011

May and June are busy months if you have a senior in high school or college.  There are graduation parties, plans for the future and the hunt for the perfect graduation present.

You want something ‘different’, not the same old ‘cross pen’ or ‘briefcase’ or whatever.

Why not a Durable Power of Attorney? or an Advance Medical Directive?

Lots of graduates don’t think they need these and many don’t think they can afford to pay a lawyer to have these critical documents drafted for them.  Unfortunately, the truth is that these are vital documents that every adult should have in place before they are needed. And young adults are one of the groups that is most prone to accidents and might need to have these documents in the next few years.

Once a person reaches the age of 18, he or she is considered a legal adult.  This means that Mom and Dad can no longer make legal decisions for them.  Mom and Dad can no longer call the school to make arrangements for school work if the child is ill.  Mom and Dad can no longer take the child to the hospital and authorize treatment.  Mom and Dad can no longer call the insurance company and take over after a car accident.

That is, unless the child has named Mom and/or Dad as their agent under a Power of Attorney.

This year, why not give the graduate in your life something really different?  (and really useful!)

To Learn more about Kristina Beavers, Attorney at Law visit the website at www.BeaversLaw.com

Who should I name as my Agent in my Power of Attorney?

Friday, November 19th, 2010

I talked recently about whether or not you need a Power of Attorney, and my answer was a resounding ‘YES’.  The next question is, Who should I name as my Agent in my Power of Attorney?

I know it is scary giving power to someone else.  Your agent under your Power of Attorney is usually given the power to spend your money, invest your money and usually to do just about anything you can do yourself.

So, why would you want to give this much power to someone else?

As long as you are competent to make your own decisions, you probably don’t want anyone else to have this much power over your ‘stuff’.  But what about the situation when something happens to you?  What if you are in a car accident and end up in a coma?  What if you get sick and aren’t able to communicate?  And for a lot of us, what if you get older and your mental capacity is in question?  When those things happen, it’s too late for you to appoint someone.

The problem is that most of us don’t have a crystal ball that tells us when we are going to need to have an agent take over our ‘stuff’.

I’ve always thought that if I have someone that I would trust to do what’s right when I don’t have the ability to know what they are doing, then why wouldn’t I trust them to do the right thing when I’m still able to look over their shoulder?

Who should you name?  Someone you trust to do what you would do yourself.  Someone you trust to make the best decisions for you.

Sometimes that is a spouse.  Sometimes that is a child.   And sometimes it is a really good friend or a neighbor.

If this is something you are wondering about, come in and we can have a chat.  I may not have all the answers, but I can ask you some questions to help you make the right choice.

Do I need a Power of Attorney?

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Most people think they need a Will (or perhaps a Trust).  A Will describes what to do with your ‘stuff’ after you die, and yes, we are all going to die.

But, what happens to your ‘stuff’ if you are still alive but incapacitated in some way?  How will your bills be paid if you are in a coma?  Who will make decisions if you suffer from dementia or have a heart attack and end up in the hospital for awhile?

If you have a Power of Attorney, you get to choose who will make those decisions, and those decisions can be made as soon as needed.  If you do not have a Power of Attorney, someone can petition the Court to appoint a conservator.  It might be the same person you would have chosen, but the Court might appoint someone else.  Someone you would not have wanted to have that control over your affairs.  And it won’t be done immediately because it just takes time.  So your perfect credit rating can be tarnished when your payments don’t get processed before they are late.

Also, if you have a Power of Attorney, you get to decide what your Agent can do.  For example, you get to decide if you want your Agent to make gifts above the tax free limit each year if that’s in your best interest.

In fact, the Power of Attorney can be the most important document in your Estate Plan.  And the answer is Yes, I think you do need a Power of Attorney.