What it is: Probably the most familiar of the three documents, the Last Will & Testament dictates where and to whom your property goes after your passing. Your property includes everything you own, including your home, investments, cash and other assets. It may also be used to ensure good stewardship of those assets left to certain individuals, such as minors or people with disabilities. Finally, the document appoints an Executor, who is in charge of distributing your assets on your behalf.
Why you should consult an attorney: Rules and regulations for the Last Will & Testament vary from state to state, so local attorneys are your best bet. Your lawyer will know how to structure and word the formal document to ensure your wishes are protected by law and executed properly. For example, you’ll need to ensure your assets are titled consistently and beneficiaries are designated properly.
What it is: This document allows you to appoint someone to handle your non-medical affairs in the event that you cannot do so yourself. This typically relates to financial matters, including medical bills.
Why you should consult an attorney: Due to the vast implications of this document, Georgia requires very specific language and has certain rules in place that are not always easy to interpret and follow. Your local estate planning attorney will understand these nuances and ensure your document is executed accordingly.
What it is: This document is sometimes referred to as a “living will” or “health care power of attorney” but it really comprises both elements. It allows you to appoint someone to make healthcare-related decisions on your behalf, and also can stipulate what type of care you want under various circumstances.
Why you should consult an attorney: Similar to the Power of Attorney, Advance Directives for Healthcare are complex documents with far-reaching implications and very specific requirements in Georgia. Having this document in place will relieve an immense burden from your loved ones in the event that critical decisions about end-of-life care and similar matters become necessary. If they know exactly what your wishes are, your family members aren’t forced to make – and live with – their own decisions.
These matters are so important and, unfortunately, awfully complex. Instead of assuming you know what your family members’ wishes are or crossing your fingers you never end up needing these documents, we encourage you to discuss the matters with your loved ones and seek the help of an attorney to craft documents that will be legally recognized in the state of Georgia.
Please note that any errors in the content of this article are mistakes of Full Heart Home Care LLC and do not reflect on our trusted legal advisors.