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Why Wills Are Important for Everyone

Estate planning may sound like something you don’t need to think about until you are approaching later stages of your life, or something only the top 1% need to take care of. This is a serious — and common — mistake.

This recent New York Times article tells the story of one woman who lost her husband suddenly in a bicycle accident. Chanel Reynolds was left to struggle with the shock of losing her partner as well as the consequences associated with not having been better prepared— Reynolds’ husband did not have a will, beneficiary protection and guardianship for his child from a prior relationship, or (if he had been incapacitated in the accident) a living will.

Protect yourself and your loved ones with a complete estate plan

Basic estate planning consists of a

  • Will
  • A living will
  • Assignment of power of attorney

Many people also create a marital or family trust as part of their estate planning process.

A will can accomplish several estate planning needs. It can designate the people who will inherit your assets after your death, but it can also appoint a guardian for the care of any of your children under the age of 18 as well as a conservator to manage your children’s assets.  Further, your will names an personal representative — someone to manage your assets during probate and ensure the goals of your will are achieved.

A living will, sometimes known as health care proxy or advance healthcare directive, is a different type of legal document. It specifies to your doctors, friends and family your end-of-life medical wishes, and the medical actions you prefer in case you are unable to make reasonable decisions or communicate your decisions.  Your living will might also designate a person you trust to make those decisions on your behalf. Similarly, a power of attorney allows a designated person the right to manage your financial affairs in the event you are unavailable to do so.

While estate planning is necessary, it can also be complex and raise difficult issues. Getting the advice of experienced estate planning counsel can be the best investment you ever make for your own peace of mind and the security of those who depend on you.  Don’t hesitate to contact the attorneys at Boyer, Dawson and St. Pierre today at 586-731-7400 with questions about your estate plan.

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