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9Apr, 15

Death and end of life issues can often be uncomfortable topics to think about, let alone discuss. The fear of the unknown can often be a paralyzing aspect to any person. However, what happens when you can’t make decisions for yourself anymore and your family needs to make those difficult choices for you? What happens when your loved ones do not know what your wishes would be? What happens when you pass away and your family does not have any guidance or direction as to what your wishes were for the material aspects of your life? All of these questions can be easily solved by making sure that estate-planning documents are in place long before these questions ever become issues.

Typically, if one thinks of ‘’estate planning documents’’ more often than not the first thing that they think of is a Last Will & Testament. Realistically, however, estate planning documents encompass a variety of documents that can be used when a person is still living and can no longer make decisions for themselves as well as what their wishes are for after death. Each one of these documents elects people that you trust to have your best interests at heart to carry out your wishes. The basic estate planning documents include a durable power of attorney, a medical power of attorney, a living will, and a Last Will & Testament.

A durable power of attorney, a medical power of attorney, and a living will are all documents that are utilized while a person is still living. A durable power of attorney names an individual to be able to handle a person’s finances while a medical power of attorney names an individual to be able to make health care decisions for a person if they are unable to. Many people refer to a living will as a “do not resuscitate” which entails that you do not want to be kept alive by extraordinary means. The person named to act in these roles can be the same person or a variety of different people. They can be friends or family. The beauty of creating all of these documents is that you can decide the extent of the powers you want to give to the person that you are electing to make all of these difficult decisions.

Creating a Last Will & Testament is absolutely vital for any person no matter what their circumstances may be. More than anything, your Last Will & Testament is used to speak to your family and loved ones as to what are your final wishes. Whether those wishes entail where certain monies should go, in certain situations if you specifically wish for people not to receive certain monies, or whether you wish to be buried or cremated, every detail is important to assure that your wishes are carried out. The terrible tragedy is that many people assume that their estate will automatically go to a certain person upon their death even if they die without a Will. This is not always the case. Dying without a Will, known as dying intestate, can cause a great stress on your family and loved ones left behind who could now potentially have to go through various court proceedings to be able to settle your estate.

When it comes to sensitive topics such as estate planning, it is always important to make sure that you go through an attorney that is experienced with estate planning. The Law Offices of Lisa E. Halpern understands how difficult many of these decisions may be and will help to guide you through any questions or concerns that you may have. It is important to make these choices now while you can still dictate your wishes. We can be reached by phone at (732) 244-7719.

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