If you’re like most people, you probably think that estate attorneys are only necessary if you have a lot of assets to protect — that is, if you’re extremely wealthy. However, even people who have a modest lifestyle should meet with estate attorneys to learn how to protect their family members. Here are a few ways that one of these lawyers can help you — and your family — even after you’ve passed on.
Estate Attorneys Can Help With Guardianship Issues
There are two different types of guardianship. The first is guardianship over an adult who is unable to make decisions for himself. This arrangement must be appointed by a court and cannot be used if the adult has an existing living will or power of attorney.
Another type of guardianship is determining what happens to children if you and your spouse were to suddenly die. Before you decide on a guardian for your children, make sure to talk to them and ask if it’s okay to name them. This is an important step that shouldn’t be missed because you don’t want there to be any confusion or fighting over where your children live during a tragic time.
Estate Attorneys Can Draw Up A Power Of Attorney
If you’re ever unable to sign legal documents, make medical decisions or can’t access your money, a power of attorney is an important document. Before you create one, however, make sure to understand the differences between a special power of attorney and a limited power of attorney. A special power of attorney will give your agent the ability to represent you in all situations, while a limited power of attorney is limited to just the situations that are spelled out in the document. If you don’t know which is right for your situation, ask estate attorneys to give you recommendations.
Estate Attorneys Can Create A Living Will
A living will is a vital document that will give your family members medical directions if you’re unable to speak for yourself. They’re especially useful in case of a major medical event, such as a stroke or heart attack, but they’re not just for older adults. Even young and healthy people should have one, just in case they’re incapacitated by a car crash or other type of accident. A living will can help your family members decide what types of life saving medical care you’d like to receive, which is vitally important if you are uncomfortable with the thought of living on a ventilator or with a feeding tube if you’re unable to eat or breathe without a machine’s assistance.
Having a living will drawn up means that your family members won’t argue over what you would have wanted. However, make sure that you do let your family members know that you have a living will in place so that there’s no guesswork over your wishes.
Nearly anyone can find him or herself in a situation where they need help from an attorney. If you’re not sure how to find one, ask your friends and family members for their recommendations so you can find someone you can trust.