In life, when no arrangements are made…
- Who will make financial and medical decisions on your behalf when you are no longer able to do so yourself?
By executing a properly drafted Durable Power of Attorney, you can name a trusted individual or entity to pay bills on your behalf, deposit checks into your bank account, handle your investment and retirement accounts, file your tax returns, admit you to a hospital or personal care facility, defend or institute a lawsuit on your behalf, sell or transfer shares of stock in a company or corporation, and sell or purchase real and personal property on your behalf. A properly drafted Durable Power of Attorney will also allow the trusted individual or entity to make decisions regarding your medical care and speak with medical care providers regarding appropriate treatment for you.
- How will you make sure that you are not hooked up to life support if you are in a terminal or irreversible state?
By executing a properly drafted Living Will Directive and Health Care Surrogate Designation you have the opportunity to state your wishes regarding life-prolonging treatment and artificially provided nutrition and hydration if or when you no longer have decisional capacity, have a terminal condition, and/or become permanently unconscious with no hope of recovery as determined by your attending physician and one other physician. The directives set forth in your Living Will are carried out by a Health Care Surrogate of your choosing. This can spare your loved ones from having to make the difficult decision regarding whether or not to keep you on life support.
After death, if no arrangements are made…
- Who will inherit my estate?
If you die without a Last Will and Testament, your estate will pass according to the intestate succession statute in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. This means that whatever plan you may have wanted for your estate will not happen. If you had particular assets, either real estate or personal property, that you wanted to go to a particular individual or institution, it will not happen. Your estate will be handled by someone you did not choose. If you are married, this means that your spouse is fourth on the list of heirs, after children, parents and siblings.
- Who will take care of your minor children?
If you die without a Last Will and Testament naming a guardian or guardians of your choosing to care for your minor children, the decision will no longer be up to you. The Court will end up deciding who will take care of your children. The individual that the Court selects may be someone you would not have chosen yourself. In fact, it may be someone you would not even approve of to raise your children. But not executing a Last Will and Testament, you give up the ability to select the guardian of your children.