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Elder Law
Estate Planning
Adult Guardianships
Home Last Will and Testament Trust Power of Attorney Health Care Proxy Living Will Estate & Care Planning Adult Guardianship Estate Administration Staff FAQ

Last Will and Testament (Will) FAQ

What is a Will?
A Will is an instrument that makes directions for the distribution of your property, upon your death.

Which property is distributed by my Will?
Any property you own, individually, and have not designated as paid upon death, to named beneficiaries.

What if that property has a co-owner or beneficiary?
That co-owner or beneficiary gets it, of right.

Is anyone required to be in my Will?
No, however your spouse has a right to be given a percentage of your property, including what you own jointly.

May I leave assets or property to minors in my Will?
Yes, however the money or property must be left in a Trust for them.
If the minor is your own child, and there is no surviving parent or guardian, a guardian of his/her person must also be named.
The guardian and the trustee may be the same or different.

May a disabled person on public benefits be in my will?
Yes, the money or assets can be left to a Special Needs Trust, for that person.

When I die, who has access to my assets and property?
No one, until the Will is Probated.

Trust Agreement FAQ

What is a Trust Agreement (Trust)?
A Trust is an instrument that allows for asset protection and management, for you and/or others.

What are the types of Trusts?
A Revocable Trust is a Trust that can be amended or terminated, during your lifetime.
An Irrevocable is a Trust that is permanent and can not be changed, once signed.

When can a Trust be established?
During your life time (Living Trust), or in a Will (Testamentary Trust).

Who can be the beneficiary of a Trust?
Anyone, whether adult or minor, including yourself.

May I use a Trust to benefit a disabled person, if he or she is receiving public benefits?
Yes, a disabled person, who receives public benefits, may have a Special Needs Trust.
This may be either a Living Trust or a Testamentary Trust.

What if I am the disabled person, trying to myself eligible for public benefits?
You can set up your own Special Needs Trust.

What assets can be transferred to my Trust?
Anything you own may be transferred to a Trust, be it financial assets or real property.

Is there a Court process involved in terminating a Revocable Trust?
There is no reason a Court would be involved in terminating a Trust.

Is anyone not named in the Trust notified?
No one who is not named in the Trust needs to know of its existence.

Power of Attorney (POA) FAQ

What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a document that allows another person or people to manage your assets for you, upon your incapacity.
In your Power of Attorney, you are known as the Principal, while the person or people you choose to manage your assets are known as your Agent(s).

What types of Power of Attorney are there?
A Durable Power of Attorney is effective from the date you sign it, through your incapacity, until you choose to revoke it.
A Springing Power of Attorney is only effective upon your incapacity.

What assets may my Agent(s) managed?
Everything you select for your Agent(s) to manage, can be managed.

What powers over my property does my Agent(s) have?
Your Agent(s) will only have the powers you give them.

Health Care Proxy (HCP) / Living Will FAQ

What is a Health Care Proxy?
A Health Care Proxy is a document that names an Agent to make health care decisions for you, when you can not.

What is a Living Will?
A Living Will is a document which indicates your wishes regarding life and death decisions.

Who may be the agent named in my Health Care Proxy?
You may name anyone as your agent in your Health Care Proxy, but you may not name your treating physician.

Guardianship FAQ

What is a Adult Guardianship?
An Adult Guardianship is a Court process by which someone is appointed to care for another adult, and/or manage his or her finances.

When is an Adult Guardianship required?
Appointment of a Guardian is required when a person is incapable of self-care (Guardian of the Person) and/or fiscal management (Guardian of the Property).

How is a Guardian appointed?
A Guardianship Petition must be filed with the Court, requesting the appointment of a Guardian of the Person and/or a Guardian of the Property.

Who may file a Guardianship Petition?
Any person or institute interested in a person's welfare may file a Guardianship Petition.

Who may serve as Guardian?
Anyone may serve as Guardian, ate the selection of the Court.

Estate Administration FAQ

What is Probate?
Probate is the process by which a person or people is/are appointed to handle the affairs of a person who has died with a Will.
This Court appointed person is called an Executor.

What is Administration?
Administration is the process of appointing a person or people to handle the affairs of a person who has died without a Will.
This Court appointed person is called an Administrator.

Who may be the Executor(s)?
The Executor(s) are named in by you in your Will.

Who may be the Administrator(s)?
The Court will generally appoint someone most closely related to the deceased.

Can the Executor(s) decide how my assets are distributed?
No, the Executor(s) must follow your wishes, as set forth in your Will.

Can the Administrators decide h0w my assets are distributed?
No, the Administrator must follow State Law, regarding how assets must be distributed when there is no Will.
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