Estate planning is a combination of planning for the future in the light of present and future financial and personal goals. One area important to most people is leaving instructions about what we would like to have happen when we are no longer alive. It can also mean planning for the way we would like things to be if we were alive but unable to issue instructions because of a mental or physical disability. Our business is providing our clients with several legal tools so your wishes are carried out if you are unable or unavailable to direct events yourself.
- Power of Attorney–A Power of Attorney is a document in which one person grants to another the legal right to manage their financial affairs. If you need a representative to execute documents when you are thousands of miles away or if you want someone to sign checks and pay your bills for you, a Power of Attorney will provide a legal tool to do so.
- Durable Power of Attorney–While a regular power of attorney gives another person authority to manage your financial affairs, the authority is automatically terminated if the grantor of the power were to become mentally or physically incapacitated due to disease or accident. A Durable Power of Attorney allows the person receiving the power to continue managing a person’s financial affairs even when they are no longer are not mentally competent to do so.
- Health Care Proxy– (sometimes called a “living will”)–A Health Care Proxy does not confer any financial authority but rather it authorizes one person (Agent) to make medical decisions for another. It is used when the person who grants the power is unable to communicate their wishes when disease or physical injury make the expression of one’s wishes impossible. We will make you a Health Care Proxy with as little or as much medical decision making latitude/authority as you wish. We will make your Health Care Proxy highly specific as to what type of decisions can be made and how much discretion you want your nominated Agent to have. It can be limited to only routine medical decisions such as authorizing a flu shot or shingles vaccination or it can contain directives on end-of -life decisions including “do not resuscitate or intubate/comfort measures only” orders.
- Wills— A Will is a document that allows a person to exert control over their property when they are no longer alive. We can make your will contain clear instructions on what asset will go to which person or charity and assist to nominate a person to organize the carrying out of your wishes. Wills can also contain instructions about how to discourage beneficiaries in the will from fighting over the inheritance. We are highly experienced at making wills that maximize the chances that a person’s wishes will be carried out exactly as he or she wants them to be.
Frank V. Grimaldi and Seth J. Urbanoski practice estate law and do estate plannning in Cambridge, MA.