Will/Power of Attorney
Will is equally important for people with big fortune and with small income. It is absolutely necessary for a family to make a Will if their children are minor. In case of parent’s death, the children have no right to make any legal and financial decisions and have no right to take charge of inheritance. The government will take charge over the estate (your home, property and business) before the end of legal trials and the time when the judge decides who of the family is going to be the guardian. Maybe this is not the best way to go, because the government will decide where you children will live, which pre-school or school they will attend (children under 12 years old cannot stay without supervision). They will also decide what to do with the property: to sell the real estate and business and turn it into cash, which they invest into Bonds for safety (Bonds are not very profitable). At the same time, this work is not done for free: 1.5-2.0% of the property per year. It is much better to appoint a guardian in your Will and choose someone among the family members or friends.
It is also essential to appoint guardians for children under age in your Life Insurance. Otherwise they may have difficulties receiving the money insured in future. Children under 18 years old have no right to receive and to handle money. Then there is none to pay the money to. And again the case will be taken to court, which will decide the matter of the guardian. Maybe the judge will appoint someone, whom the parents would not want to see as one.
You may also indicate Executive Representative in your Will. It is a person, who will decide essential legal and financial matters of the family. If you wish to distribute your legacy between relatives outside your immediate family, you have to indicate it in your Will.
You can authenticate your Will at any Lawyer’s Office for $150-200 and higher.
The lawyer does not only authenticate the Will. He gives advice how to divide your property and business correctly, so that after your death taxes are reduced. If someone does not need such kind of advice, he can write his Will without a lawyer. This document has legal power even if it is hand-written and is signed by two witnesses, who are not members the testator’s family. In your Will you may mention:
- How and between whom you want your property to be distributed;
- How to deal with your debts;
- Who is going to be your Executive Representative of your family before all legal organizations;
- Who is going to be a guardian for the children under age;
- How and where you want to be buried;
- Other wishes.
The Will itself must be kept in a place, which is known and easily accessible to your family.
You should keep it in mind, that if the Will is written once, it should be revised periodically, especially if there are changes in your family.
Power of Attorney
Power of Attorney works only while the person is alive. As soon as the person dies, the Will comes into effect. Power of Attorney is important to appoint a trustworthy person to take charge over our finances and property in case when we cannot make our decisions because of illness or injury. It is also important in case of critical illness. Let us suppose that a person is in coma. The doctors cannot decide whether to operate on him or not. If there is Power of Attorney, the decision will be made by this appointed person. If there is not – the doctors will decide.
It works the same way with bills. If the person has no Power of Attorney and at the same time is unable to analyze and make decisions on payments, the government will decide for him. And for these decisions the government will charge ~ 2% per year.
There are two kinds of Power of Attorney:
- For personal care (medical treatment);
- For assets / property.
It usually costs $200.