What Else Is At Stake Besides Property?

Posted By Brian Collie @ Feb 22nd 2010 11:16am In: General

Before I ever went to law school I, like many people, thought that the primary importance in having a Will was so that my assets would be distributed at my death to the beneficiaries of my preference.  The stakes were only as high as the value of your property.  It was as simple as that.  But as most people soon find out when they meet with an estate planning attorney, your assets are only the beginning.

What could be more important that being able to choose who will raise your children if something were to happen to you?  With a properly executed Will, a parent can choose who they would like to be the guardian of their minor children in the event of their death.  Why would you let the state court system decide something so personal?  In my experiences during client interviews, this issue generates the most thoughts and discussion between a husband and wife.  It seems there is always a brother or sister that is the natural choice to be guardian, and a brother or sister that the clients definitely want to steer clear of.  But with a Will, the decision will be yours and yours alone. 

What about a Heath Care Power of Attorney?  This document allows you to give the power to make certain health care decisions on your behalf to a trusted agent if for some reason you become unable to do so.  A Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will offer a client the ability to choose many other important options as it pertains to their treatment in a hospital if they are unable to make those decisions themselves.  As important as it is to have a Will to dispose of property, having an Estate Planning attorney help you with these matters is just as important, if not more.

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