All too often we find ourselves in situations where we need immediate access and use of certain legal documents. No matter who you are, it is important that you take the necessary steps to acquire these documents. After you get these documents put them in a safe place and retrieve them when needed. Below are 5 legal documents that every individual should have before the need for them comes:

I. Will

Let’s face it, no one wants to think about dying. As a result, most individuals die without a will. Writing a will, however, does not have to be a daunting experience. In fact, everyone needs a will to make sure your assets are distributed correctly. If you are a parent of a young child, you will need to appoint a guardian to take care of your kids. Dying without a will could lead to extensive bickering and fighting among your family over the distribution of your estate. Do your loved ones a favor and invest in having a will written by an estate planning attorney. Click here to learn more about having your will written by our office.

II. Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a legal document giving another individual (referred to as your attorney in fact) the authority to act and make certain decisions on your behalf. If you ever become debilitated or otherwise incapacitated, the attorney in fact will make decisions for you. If you are out of town or out of the country, you can also authorize your attorney in fact to make decisions for you and manage your affairs in your absence. Click here to learn more about having your power of attorney written by our office.

III. Advanced Medical Directive

In addition to having a power of attorney written to handle business affairs and other miscellaneous matters, an advanced medical directive is very important to have as soon as possible. An advanced medical directive is a legal document that states your wishes in regards to your health care. An advanced medical directive addresses issues such as life support and whether to resuscitate you if you are unresponsive. Remember the Terri Schiavo case? The seven-year legal battle between in-laws could have been avoided with an advanced medical directive. Click here to learn more about advanced medical directives and living wills.

IV. Life Insurance

Again, no one wants to think about death, so most people don’t take the time to invest in life insurance. Life insurance, however, is imperative to have in order to make sure all of your debts and memorial services are taken care of. Neglecting to do so will leave your family with the responsibility of handling these costs.

V. Living Trust

A trust is an arrangement created by you under which one person, called a trustee, holds legal title to property for another person, called a beneficiary. You can be the trustee of your own living trust, keeping full control over all property held in trust. Just like a will, a living trust spells out exactly what your desires are with regard to your assets, your dependents, and your heirs. The difference between the two, however, is that a will becomes effective when you die and is probated, but a living trust does not have to go through the costly time-consuming probate process. If you have a trust, it is important to make sure that trust is properly funded and that all of your personal property is transferred to your trust. Click here to learn how our office can assist you in creating a trust.

You never know when you’ll need either of these documents, so give us a call today and let us help you plan for the unexpected.

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