The beginning of a new year is the best time to review or to prepare vital legal documents. USLegal recommends having a state-specific Will, Living Will, and Power of Attorney form on file as part of a key strategy to organize your legal life and to protect you and your family in the event of an emergency or unforeseen life event. Here are expanded explanations of what these forms can do for you:
Last Will and Testament – A will is a legal document that allows a person to ensure their final wishes are carried out. By completing a will, a person directs how to distribute personal property, real property, money, and particular items to the intended beneficiaries. A will also allows a person to choose trusted individuals to act as their personal representatives, who will take charge of the estate, wind it up, and distribute it according to stated wishes. In the absence of a will, a person risks having their property distributed by a court-appointed stranger according to their state’s laws of intestacy or escheating to the state.
Living Will – A living will is a document that allows a person to explain in writing which medical treatment he or she does or does not want during a terminal illness. A terminal illness is an illness that ultimately leads to death. A living will takes effect only when the patient is incapacitated and can no longer express his or her wishes. The will states which medical treatments may be used and which may not be used in order for the patient to die naturally and without the patient’s life being artificially prolonged by various medical procedures.
Power of Attorney – With a power of attorney form on file, you can appoint a trusted person to be your agent for financial, health, property or other matters when you cannot take care of things due to absence, illness, incompetence or incapacitation.
As part of getting your legal affairs in order, it is also a good strategy to prepare a Life Documents File. It is a collection of important documents, including legal documents, such as your will, birth certificate, marriage license, insurance policies, and more all kept in one place. Click here to learn how to put your life documents file together today.
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Intestate Law and Legal Definitions
When used in regard to a person, intestate means not having made a legally valid will prior to death; when used in regard to property, intestate means not effectively disposed of by a legally valid will.
For more legal definitions, please visit our free online legal dictionary at http://www.uslegalforms.com/legaldefinitions/.