A will is a document in which a person specifies the method to be applied in the management and distribution of his or her estate after their death.
If a person does not leave a will, or the will is declared invalid, the person will have died intestate, resulting in the distribution of the estate according to the law. Because of the importance of a will, the law requires it to have certain elements to be valid of which the Damiano Law Offices can certainly provide for you. Apart from these elements, a will may be ruled invalid.
A will enables a person to select who their estate may go to, rather than allowing the state laws of descent and distribution to choose for them after death. A will allows a person to decide which individual could best serve as the executor of their estate, distributing the property fairly to the beneficiaries while protecting their interests, rather than allowing a Court to appoint a stranger to serve as an administrator. A will safeguards a person’s right to select an individual to serve as guardian to raise their young children in the event of their death.
A living will is a document that outlines specific medical instructions to be applied if you are alive but are unable to communicate your wishes for yourself. Unlike last wills (above), they have nothing to do with property division after your death. Rather, they state that you do (or do not) want artificial life support if either:
- You become terminally ill and will die shortly without life support; or
- You fall into an irreversible coma or persistent vegetative state.
Power of Attorney (POA)
A power of attorney is a written document in which one person (the principal) appoints another person to act as an agent on their behalf, thus conferring authority on the agent to perform certain acts or functions on behalf of the principal. Powers of Attorney are routinely granted to allow the agent to take care of a variety of transactions for the principal, such as handling a bank account or maintaining a safe-deposit box. Powers of Attorney can be written to be either general (full) or limited to special circumstances. A Power of Attorney generally is terminated when the principal dies or becomes incompetent, but the principal can revoke the Power of Attorney at any time.