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While estate planning is a complex topic, there are four basic documents that everyone should draft, regardless of the size of their estate or their financial situation:

  1. Will
  2. General Power of Attorney
  3. Healthcare Power of Attorney
  4. Advanced Directive (Living Will)

These documents form the foundation of your estate plan and should be drafted by an experienced attorney that handles wills.

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What is a Will?

What is a Will?When it comes to your estate, your Will is perhaps the most important document you prepare. A will is a document that outlines how your property, including money, stocks, real estate and any other assets, including any businesses, you might own, will be distributed after you pass away.

By drafting a Will, you can control who receives your assets, who will be the guardian of your children, who will be responsible to invest and distribute any assets given to children or grandchildren, and who will be responsible for handling each of these important duties.

When you prepare a Will, you also will help to reduce the time and cost necessary to handle (administer) your estate. The Will addresses who pays the taxes and other expenses for the estate, and helps to reduce the disputes and ill feelings that sometimes arise among beneficiaries, especially during property distributions.

But if you die without a Will, your property will be distributed according to state law, which is called intestacy. When you die intestate, the state – not you – decides how your property is divided, and it may well be different from how you desired it to be.

If you want to be certain that your property passes to the individuals of your choosing, and that your children, grandchildren and others receive what you desire, or even if you simply want to make sure that your surviving spouse receives all of your estate, you need to have a Will.

Whether your estate is simple or complex, it is important to meet with an attorney who understands the laws and procedures involved. The estate planning attorneys at Daley Zucker, LLC can help you provide for your loved ones and plan for the future.



What is a Power of Attorney?

If you suddenly became incapacitated and could no longer handle your affairs, who would you want in the driver’s seat of your life?

Who would you want to take care of your family or your children? Who would you trust to pay your bills or handle your investments? Who should make the routine medical decisions for you?

The truth is you may not have much choice in the matter if you do not put your wishes in writing. And even worse, your family will need to petition the court to appoint someone to oversee your affairs, costing them both time and money.

To avoid problems and ensure your affairs are handled properly, you need to draw up a Power of Attorney that authorizes a person you designate to handle your affairs. It is simple to do with the help of an experienced attorney and provides peace of mind for both you and your family.

Related Post: Power of Attorney One Stop Solution to Multiple Problems

At Daley Zucker, LLC we have been helping families with estate planning for over 50 years. Do not put off this important decision. Put our experience to work for you.


What is a Living Will?

What is a Living Will?A Living Will or Advanced Directive allows you to appoint a person to make healthcare decisions for you if you become incapacitated. It coordinates with your Healthcare Power of Attorney.

Requirements for Living Wills vary state by state, so it is important to hire an experienced attorney to ensure this document is drafted properly.

Your Living Will or Advanced Directive will be a legally binding document and may include provisions to address multiple scenarios of possible medical care such as:

  • Care to alleviate pain or suffering
  • Extraordinary measures such as CPR, feeding tubes, or breathing apparatus
  • The use of intravenous antibiotics
  • Conditions where you do or do not want some forms of medical treatment

Discussing your wishes with your attorney and formalizing them in writing is the best way to ensure those wishes are carried out, should it ever become necessary.

The attorneys at Daley Zucker, LLC can help you draft a Living Will that makes decisions in times of crisis easier for your loved ones.




Wills FAQ

Estate planning is a meticulous and multifaceted endeavor that serves as the cornerstone for securing the financial future of both you and your loved ones. Central to this process is the creation of a last Will and Testament, more commonly known as a “Will.” While the term “Will” might evoke a relatively straightforward notion, it represents a profoundly influential and legally binding document designed to safeguard your legacy and assets. Crafting a comprehensive Will is far from a one-size-fits-all task; instead, it requires a thoughtful and tailored approach.

A well-crafted Will not only ensure that your assets are distributed following your precise intentions but also holds the potential to protect your family from contentious legal disputes and safeguard your dependents’ welfare. It is within the intricacies of a Will’s provisions, clauses, and design that the full extent of its influence comes to light.

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the depths of Wills and their vital role in estate planning, offering insights into the nuances that shape them and the importance of seeking professional guidance to ensure the integrity of your legacy.

What is a Will, and why do I need one?

A Will, also known as a last Will and testament, is a legal document that outlines your wishes for the distribution of your assets and property after your passing. It serves several purposes, such as specifying how your estate should be handled, appointing guardians for minor children, and naming an executor to manage the distribution process. Having a Will ensures that your assets are distributed according to your desires, reduces the risk of family disputes, and offers peace of mind in knowing your loved ones Will be taken care of.

Do I need an attorney to create a Will, or can I do it myself?

While it’s possible to create a simple Will without an attorney, it’s highly advisable to consult with a qualified estate planning attorney. An attorney can provide valuable guidance in ensuring your Will complies with state laws, addresses complex issues, and stands up to potential legal challenges. DIY Wills may be legally valid, but the slightest error or omission can lead to disputes and complications.

What happens if I die without a Will (intestate)?

Dying without a Will means you have died intestate. In this case, state laws, rather than your preferences, Will determine how your assets are distributed. Typically, assets Will be divided among surviving family members, which may not align with your wishes. Additionally, a court Will appoint guardians for minor children, potentially without considering your preferred choice.

Can I change my Will after it’s created?

Yes, you can modify your Will. Most people update their Wills when significant life events occur, such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, or the acquisition of new assets. It’s important to make changes through legally recognized procedures to ensure your revised Will is valid and can withstand future challenges.

How often should I update my Will?

There’s no fixed schedule for updating a Will, but you should consider reviewing it at least every few years. Major life events, such as changes in marital status, the birth of children or grandchildren, substantial asset acquisitions, or moving to a different state, necessitate a Will revision. It’s good practice to consult your attorney regularly to ensure your Will remains current and effective.

What is a living Will, and how does it differ from a last Will and testament?

A living Will is a legal document that outlines your healthcare preferences in the event you become unable to make end of life medical decisions due to incapacity. It covers issues like life support, organ donation, and end-of-life care. In contrast, a last Will and testament addresses the distribution of your assets and the appointment of guardians for your minor children after your death.

Can I disinherit someone in my Will?

Yes, you can disinherit individuals from your Will, but it’s a decision that should be made carefully and be clearly stated in your Will. Some jurisdictions may have provisions to protect the rights of certain family members, so it’s advisable to consult with an attorney to ensure your wishes are legally enforceable.

What is a probate process, and how does it relate to my Will?

Probate is the legal process by which a court validates and executes a Will, ensuring that the deceased’s assets are distributed according to their wishes. Your Will serves as the primary guide for the probate process. The court examines the Will’s validity, settles debts, and oversees the distribution of assets. Keep in mind that certain assets, like life insurance proceeds or assets held in a trust, may bypass probate.

Can I have multiple Wills for different assets or purposes?

In some cases, individuals choose to have multiple Wills for various reasons, such as managing assets in different countries. However, this can be complex and may lead to confusion or disputes. It’s essential to consult with an attorney to determine the most effective and legally sound approach for managing different aspects of your estate.

What should I consider when choosing an executor for my Will?

Selecting the right executor is critical. An executor is responsible for managing the probate process, settling debts, and distributing assets according to your Will. It’s wise to choose someone trustworthy, organized, and financially competent. Discuss your intentions with potential executors to ensure they are Willing to take on this responsibility.

What should I include in my Will aside from asset distribution?

In addition to asset distribution, your Will can specify guardianship for minor children, funeral or burial preferences, charitable bequests, and specific instructions for your digital assets and personal possessions. It’s a comprehensive document that allows you to address various aspects of your legacy.

How do I make my Will legally valid?

To ensure your Will is legally valid, it should be in writing, signed by you (the testator), and witnessed by individuals who are not beneficiaries and who also sign the document. The exact requirements may vary by jurisdiction, so it’s essential to consult with an attorney to create a valid Will.

Why should I work with an estate planning attorney for my Will?

An estate planning attorney can guide in drafting a legally sound and comprehensive Will that considers your unique circumstances. They can help you navigate the complexities of estate planning, ensuring you avoid costly mistakes and that your wishes are carried out effectively. Collaborating with an attorney provides peace of mind that your estate Will be managed with precision and in accordance with your intentions.

How can I get started with creating my Will?

To begin creating your Will, reach out to an experienced estate planning attorney. They Will work with you to understand your specific needs, goals, and concerns and draft a customized Will that clarifies and protects your legacy. It’s a valuable step in securing your assets and ensuring your loved ones are taken care of according to your wishes.

Remember that a Will is an integral part of your estate planning strategy. It ensures that your wishes are carried out and your loved ones are protected. If you have additional questions or require personalized guidance, don’t hesitate to contact an estate planning attorney. Your attorney Will work with you to create a legally sound Will and offer advice tailored to your unique circumstances.

Depending on the size of your estate and your family situation, more complex planning may be required. Various trusts are available to both minimize taxes and protect loved ones. The attorneys at Daley Zucker, LLC can help with every aspect of your estate planning including:

Our Estate Planning Attorneys

Patricia Carey Zucker
Vicky Ann Trimmer
Karen W. Miller