Estate Planning Tools
Regardless of your age, it’s important to start thinking about your legacy. Through proper estate planning, you can ensure that your legacy is preserved and that your wishes are properly carried out.
You can use an estate plan to designate a power of attorney, durable power of attorney, and/or a healthcare power of attorney. You can ensure that your family is provided for, quickly distribute your assets to your chosen beneficiaries upon your death, save your family from having to make challenging decisions about how to split your property, and reduce the tax burden on your loved ones after you are gone.
While there are many benefits to creating an estate plan, it can also be challenging to do it alone. Because an estate plan is legally binding, it’s very important to ensure that all of your documentation is valid and that your plan is enforceable. The Virginia Beach estate planning lawyer of Hardt Law, P.L.L.C. has the knowledge and experience to help you create an estate plan that meets your goals and gives you peace of mind
Contact us today by calling (757) 962-5588 for a free consultation.
Your POA, or power of attorney, is a document that designates another person, known as an agent, to manage your affairs and make financial decisions on your behalf if necessary. Your power of attorney will establish a legally binding relationship between you and your chosen agent.
There are two primary types of POA: a general POA and a DPOA, or a durable power of attorney. We will discuss DPOA in more detail in the next section.
A general POA can be advantageous for individuals who need a trusted agent to make financial or business decisions for them during a specified period, such as for an absence while traveling. However, if you become disabled or incapacitated, a general POA will cease to have authority over decisions related to your affairs.
To create a POA in Virginia, you must be at least 18 years old. You must also be of sound mind. If you are not mentally capable of understanding the authority you are giving the agent, then you won’t be able to create a POA. You can also later rescind a POA and revoke your agent’s decision-making authority, but again, you must be of sound mind to do so.
A POA is customizable based on your objectives. Our Virginia Beach attorney can help you draft a document that meets your specific needs.
A durable power of attorney is similar to a power of attorney. The core difference is that a DPOA continues to be effective and enforceable even if you become disabled or incompetent. For example, if you have suffered an unexpected illness, a debilitating injury, or become mentally incapacitated, a DPOA can make financial, legal, and business decisions for you.
As is the case with a POA, you must be 18 years of age or older, and you must be mentally competent when you establish a DPOA. By giving someone you know and trust the authority to make financial decisions on your behalf if you are disabled or mentally incompetent, you can significantly decrease the stress your family will likely already be facing if you have been badly injured or you become severely ill.
As is the case with a general POA, you can also revoke a DPOA if you are mentally competent. If you don’t have a DPOA, your family could be left in the dark regarding the decisions you want to have made about your affairs, and your finances and business interests could suffer. Our Virginia estate planning lawyer can help you establish a DPOA as part of your overall estate plan.
A healthcare (or medical) POA is a specific type of durable power of attorney. If you establish a healthcare POA, that agent will have the authority to make important medical decisions on your behalf should you become disabled or incapacitated and unable to make those decisions yourself.
For instance, if you are in a coma after a serious accident, your healthcare POA will have the authority to make decisions about whether to continue life-saving care. These issues can be extremely contentious within families, but by creating a healthcare POA as part of your estate plan, you can ensure that your wishes are properly executed and reduce the potential for emotional disputes among loved ones.
Technically speaking, a living will is not a will. It is actually a legal document that you can use to issue medical directives in the event of your incapacitation. For instance, if you are placed on life support after an accident and are unable to make medical decisions for yourself, your healthcare POA can refer to your living will to determine whether you would like to remain on life support or be taken off.
To create a living will, you will need to be an adult who is mentally competent. The living will must be in writing, and you must sign the document in the presence of two witnesses. If you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and decide to draft a living will, then you will need to make an oral declaration of your wishes in front of a doctor and two witnesses.
Making your medical instructions explicitly clear in a living will can be incredibly helpful to your medical power of attorney. If you would like to create a living will, the estate planning lawyer at Hardt Law, P.L.L.C. has the skills to address any concerns you may have and help you draft a legally sound document.
Contact a Virginia Estate Planning Attorney Today
If you are looking to create an estate plan in Virginia, contact the Virginia Beach estate planning lawyer of Hardt Law, P.L.L.C. today for a free, no-risk initial consultation. We are committed to helping you establish an estate plan that honors your legacy and protects your family’s future. Call (757) 962-5588 now.