What is guardianship and do I need it? Guardianship is the court process whereby an individual (usually a family member) is appointed by the court to make health care and/or financial decisions form someone who the court has deemed incompetent and not able to make those decisions him or herself. It is what the court calls, “the means of last resort” because the court prefers alternatives over guardianship because it is so restrictive. Such alternatives are powers of attorney, joint account ownership, etc.
Last Will and Testaments
Did you create your own documents?
Why pay a lawyer when I can get my estate documents online for free (or at least at a lesser cost than a lawyer)? Every estate planning attorney has fielded that question at some point or another. My response is usually: “I love online documents…because it usually means I’ll have more work that makes more money in the future.” After I say that, I typically get a grin across the client’s face and then they ask “why”?
All too often will-seeking clients call the firm asking if we do “simple” wills, say they need a will, but don’t want one of those “long wills”, or claim to not have anything, so they just need a “basic” will. Most law firms will respond to the client, “Yes! We can do that!” But there are pitfalls that can arise, some foreseen and some unforeseen, when a person only has a “simple” will, and the client does not even know these potential pitfalls exist.
A proper estate plan should provide for the following: (1) the ability to control your property while you are alive and able, (2) planning for you and your loved ones should you become disabled, and (3) after you die, making sure your assets go to the people you love without unnecessary cost or delay. Moreover, for an estate plan to be effective there needs to be proper asset ownership and control of the process.