What is a Will?
A Will is a written document which names an executor to wind up your financial affairs and distribute your assets, after paying debts and taxes, to persons you name as your heirs after you die. The law may also dictate that you cannot disinherit certain p persons, such as a spouse, under certain circumstances. Contrary to popular belief, the state does not receive your assets if you do not have a Will. The law dictates which of your relatives will receive your property if you die without a Will. A person n who has substantial assets may want to prepare his Will, or other testamentary documents, for the purpose of minimizing inheritance taxes.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a written document which gives another person power to act for you only while you are alive. People often confuse Wills with Powers of Attorney. A Will is not a Power of Attorney. A Power of Attorney is not a Will. A Will takes effect only after your die. A Power of Attorney is only effective while you are alive.
What is a Living Will?
A Living Will is a medical instruction to your doctor and medical institutions describing the medical treatment you wish to receive if and when you no longer are able to make decisions or communicate your wishes. Thus, if you are terminally ill and wish h to die at home and not in a hospital, a Living Will would relieve your doctor of the responsibility of allowing you to remain at home despite your medical condition. Many people do not wish to undergo heroic efforts to keep them painfully alive when they will inevitably die within a very short period of time anyway. With a Living Will, a doctor would not take or continue such heroic efforts and you, if you wanted to, could die naturally in a manner and in a place you choose. Although any person has a right to refuse medical treatment, a Living Will cannot authorize euthanasia, which is illegal. Of course, you could also instruct your doctor and hospital that you wanted to be kept alive no matter what. The point of a Living Will is that you decide y our medical treatment ahead of time.
What Happens When I Die?
If you do not leave a Will stating that no bond is required, the person who wants to administer your estate must purchase a surety bond to file with the surrogate That person will then be appointed by the surrogate to wind up your financial affairs, pay your debts and taxes, and distribute the remainder of your assets to your heirs. If you leave a Will designating an executor and stating that no bond is required, the person named in your Will as executor will be appointed by the surrogate without filing a bond. The executor will then wind up your financial affairs, pay your debts an d taxes, and distribute the remainder of your assets to your heirs.
What Happens If I Die Without A Will?
There would be no direction given to your relatives as to how you want your money and property to be distributed
If you have children under the age of 18, no one has been named as guardian
Much or all of your estate could be consumed by legal actions and taxes
If you do not have close relatives, your money and property could be taken by the State
There are many other things that could happen if you die without a Will. You should not put your loved ones in the position of having to discover what those things could be.
If the value of your estate exceeds a certain amount at the time of your death, estate taxes could eat up a lot of the money that you want to pass on to others.You can do certain things now that could avoid payment of those taxes.
You may also wish to create a Living Will. If you do not know what a Living Will is you should consult with your doctor and contact us.
If you would like to speak to an attorney regarding any of these matters, please call us at
Our office provides a full range of services necessary for the handling of all types of Probate Court matters. Whether a matter involves the administration of an estate, the appointment of a conservator or guardian, or other matters typically handled by the Probate Court, we can provide you with the advice and legal expertise you need to properly and expeditiously complete all such matters. Our firm is also experienced in the preparation of wills and trusts to provide for the orderly disposition of your assets in accordance with your wishes. Also, please note that the above answers to these frequently asked questions should not be construed as legal advice as all situations differ and you should always consult the advice of an attorney before making any decisions regarding probate matters or other legal matters referred to herein. These answers are intended to provide general information only.
Serious illness, incapacity or death brings with it a loss of the ability to control what happens to you, your family, and your assets. That uncertainty can be avoided by careful planning, from a simple Will or Trust, a Living Will, or a Power of Attorney, to the more sophisticated planning to minimize Estate and Inheritance Taxes or the protection of minors or persons with special needs.
Our goal is to help you meet the needs of you and your family and provide peace of mind, protection and security for the future.
Confidentiality is guaranteed.
If you do not have a Will, or if you need information about a Living Will or an Estate matter, please call us immediately at