WILLS, ESTATES AND POWERS OF ATTORNEY

Wills and Estates

  • image
    Wills and estates are legal concepts that relate to the distribution of assets and property after someone has passed away. A will is a legal document that outlines how a person's assets and property should be distributed after their death. It can also appoint an executor to manage the distribution of assets and specify how debts and taxes should be paid.
    An estate, on the other hand, is the total sum of a person's assets and liabilities. When someone dies, their estate becomes a separate legal entity, and it is responsible for paying any outstanding debts, taxes, and distributing assets to heirs and beneficiaries.
    When a person dies without a will, their estate is subject to the laws of intestacy. In this case, the distribution of assets is determined by the court and may not align with the deceased person's wishes. It's important to have a will in place to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and to avoid any potential conflicts among family members. Some specific tasks that a wills and estate lawyers may handle include drafting wills, creating trusts, probating estates, resolving contested wills, and managing the transfer of property ownership.
    In addition to wills, there are other estate planning tools available, such as trusts and powers of attorney, which can help ensure that your wishes are carried out in the event of your incapacity or death. It's important to consult with an attorney or financial planner to determine the best approach for your individual situation.

HOW TO MAKE A VALID WILL?

  • image
    To make a valid will, there are certain requirements that must be met. These requirements can vary depending on the jurisdiction, but there are some common elements that apply in many places:

    • Understanding capacity:

    The person making the will (the "testator") must have the capacity to understand what they are doing and the consequences of their actions. This means they must be of sound mind and not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol that could impair their judgment.

    • Age:

    The testator must be of legal age, which is usually 18 years old or older. Some jurisdictions may allow a person under 18 to make a will under certain circumstances, such as if they are married or in the military.

    • Intent:

    The testator must have the intent to create a will and understand the consequences of their choices. This means they must be making a deliberate decision about how their assets will be distributed after their death.

    • Witnesses:

    The will must be witnessed by at least two people who are not beneficiaries under the will. The witnesses must watch the testator sign the will and then sign the document themselves, attesting to the fact that the testator appeared to be of sound mind and not under duress.

    • Formalities:

    The will must be in writing, either handwritten or typed, and signed by the testator. Some jurisdictions may require additional formalities, such as having the will notarized.

POWERS OF ATTORNEY

  • image
    A power of attorney is a legal document that gives one person the power to act on behalf of another person (the "principal") in certain matters. The scope of the authority granted in a power of attorney can vary depending on the specific document and the wishes of the principal. Lawyers can be involved in drafting and executing POAs, especially when complex legal considerations are involved or when the principal wants to ensure their interests are properly protected.

TYPES OF POWER OF ATTORNEY

  • image
    There are two main types of powers of attorney:
    • A General Power of Attorney
    • A Enduring Power of Attorney.

    1-A general power of attorney

    A general power of attorney gives the attorney-in-fact broad authority to act on behalf of the principal in a variety of matters, such as signing contracts, managing financial accounts, and making healthcare decisions. However, a general power of attorney usually terminates if the principal becomes incapacitated.

    2- A Enduring Power of Attorney

    A enduring Power of Attorney, on the other hand, remains in effect even if the principal becomes incapacitated. This type of power of attorney is often used in estate planning to ensure that someone can make financial and healthcare decisions for the principal if they are unable to do so themselves.