Klenk Law

Trust Lawyer Cherry Hill NJWorking with a Living Will Attorney

 
A living will lawyer Philadelphia PA families trust understands that most people are uncomfortable making plans that address end-of-life issues. None of us wants to consider a time when we will no longer be there for our loved ones, but the truth is that time comes for all of us. And while many people understand that they should have an estate plan in place that addresses what should happen with their assets and property when they die, what is often missing in these plans is what an individual’s wishes are for their medical treatment decisions when that time comes.  Working with a Living Will attorney can make sure your wishes are respected.
 
To address those issues, many people are including living wills in their estate planning documents. Each  Philadelphia living will lawyer from Klenk Law have been assisting clients with estate planning for more 25 years and can explain in detail what types of legalities can be addressed in a living will during a free consultation with one of our living will attorneys. In the meantime, here is a general overview.
 

How a Living Will Works

 
A living will is a legal written statement which provides in detail what type of medical treatment you consent to should you become incapacitated and unable to communicate that consent. You can specify what extraordinary measures you will or will not accept if it is determined that there is no chance of recovery.
 
A living will lawyer Philadelphia PA clients recommend will likely advise you to include a durable power of attorney for health care with your living will. This document appoints a person you decide as your health care proxy, (also referred to as health care agent), to make medical treatment decisions if you are unable to make those decisions. It is also the health care proxy’s duty to ensure that your physician knows the type of medical treatment to which you would consent.
 
Your living will go into effect when it is determined that you are no longer able to communicate with your doctor about your condition and treatment. In situations where that ability or capacity is in question, there are legal protocols in place that physicians are required to follow to make that determination.
 

You can Revoke Your Living Will.

 
An individual has the right to revoke or change a living will at any time. There are a few other scenarios where your living will be revoked or need changes.
 
For example, if you named your spouse as your health care proxy and then get divorced, the divorce automatically revokes that proxy. The divorce does not revoke what your wishes are, just who your agent is ensuring your wishes are carried out. You should speak with your living will lawyer Philadelphia PA residents depend on about drafting a new document with a new health care proxy.
There are instances where a court may intervene, either because there is a question of the validity of documents or because there are questions of whether your health care proxy is honoring your wishes.
 

 

Items To Avoid Putting In Your Will

One of the smartest things you can do for your assets, estate, and your family is make a will. This ensures that you still take care of your family and loved ones even after you are gone and that your assets are divided up and someone will care for them. However, not everything should be put into a will. In some cases, it is possible to over-detail a will and place items in it that you do not have the authority to give out after you pass away. So, before starting on writing your will, first determine what is and is not yours to put in it. One of the best ways you can do this is by sitting down with a living will lawyer in Philadelphia, PA.

Although you are not required to retain a lawyer when you write a will to make it legal, they can be a great asset when it comes to determining what is appropriate to place in your will and what you should leave out. For a quick checklist of items to leave out of your will, read below.

Your Funeral Specifications

Although you may have certain instructions regarding the flower arrangements, the music, or the people who speak at your funeral, in many instances a court will not even start settling your estate until after your funeral. This can become complicated when your funeral is one of the first things to happen after someone passes away. This means that your funeral wishes could go completely unnoticed. Instead, speak with your executor or your loved ones, and even write up a separate document outlining how you would like your funeral to proceed.

Certain Property Not To Include

While a will is a place for you to specify what you want to happen to your estate, there are certain types of property that have rules governing them completely independent of your will, as a living will lawyer in Philadelphia, PA can explain. These are:

  • Property that resides in a living trust. You can avoid probate if you set up a living trust, however, the same is not true for property in your will. It is not a wise move to will property to someone when that property is already set aside for someone else in your living trust.
  • Joint tenancy property. When you share your property with another person (known as joint tenancy property), you cannot leave that property to someone else in a will. That property will simply go directly to the surviving partner in that joint tenancy relationship.
  • Life insurance. When you set up your life insurance, you selected a beneficiary already. Selecting a different beneficiary in your will not negate this.

Having Rules On Gifts

Leaving gifts to beneficiaries is a nice way of showing your loved ones how you cared for them. However, when you leave a loved one a gift with strict conditions—such as, they can only get this gift if they divorce their spouse or change religions—a court will not uphold those types of specifications.

Digital Assets in an Estate Plan

Digital assets are one of the most overlooked assets. As a living will lawyer in Philadelphia, PA can attest. Many people use online services to store important documents and other information. The old way of keeping hard copies in file cabinets is gone. You may also have multiple social media accounts and email accounts. These items are all considered digital assets. If they are important to you, include them in your estate plan.

Some of the more common digital assets include:

  •       Andy data stored on personal computers, hard drives, thumbnails, and tablets
  •       Call logs and voicemails stored on smartphones
  •       Cryptocurrency
  •       Digital document accounts, such as Notepad or Microsoft Word
  •       Digital Photographs
  •       Documents and emails stored on a cloud account
  •       Music accounts, such as iTunes and Spotify
  •       Shopping accounts, such as eBay and Amazon
  •       Text messages stored on smartphones
  •       Video games stored on digital platforms
  •       Videos store online

There may be other items that are considered digital assets. A living will lawyer in Philadelphia, PA can help determine what those assets. Periodic updates are needed. Technology rules are ever-evolving.  It is important to consult a seasoned estate attorney.  We keep versed in current estate planning laws.

Laws Differ as your Move.

Some states have passed laws which address how these assets should be handled.  These include granting estate representatives the authority to access accounts.  Consider including your email, social media, or other online and digital asset accounts.  More and more people choose to conduct their business online. Examples include paying bills, banking, etc.  When financial work is online executors have difficulty performing their fiduciary duties. If they cannot access any of the online information, they cannot easily secure assets and statements.  After reviewing your situation, our living will lawyer in Philadelphia, PA may suggest creating a list of all online accounts. We can then give this to your executor at death.

On a more personal, not financial, level, it is also important for families and loved ones to be able to access family photos and videos.  These are often stored online. Otherwise lost forever are precious mementos. Making sure that you have an estate plan in place which includes instructions for your digital assets.

Avoid Will Confusion: Working with a Living Will Attorney.

Writing a will can become complicated. Especially if you are not sure what is or isn’t appropriate to put in it. Therefore, it can be incredibly beneficial to have a living will lawyer in Philadelphia, PA by your side. Ensure you leave nothing out and that you do not put anything in that should not be there. For more information, call a Philadelphia, PA living will lawyer at Klenk Law now.

Contact a Living Will Lawyer Philadelphia PA Locals Rely On

 
In order to avoid these types of issues, have a qualified living will lawyer in Philadelphia PA draft these documents. Putting them together on your own can mean missing important steps. Call a living will lawyer Philadelphia PA provides from Klenk Law today at 215-790-1095 for a free consultation.  Working with a Living Will Attorney from our office is easy!

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