Often people wait until an emergency situation arises to hurriedly make sure all the legal protections are in place to take care of a loved one who has become unable to take care of or speak for themselves. The same mistake is made with drafting a final will and testament.
Many people do not know what to do upon the death of a friend or a loved one. In the inner city, this problem becomes more acute. People often fail to follow the procedures laid down by the laws of Pennsylvania to officially transfer property upon a death, whether there is a
will in place or not. This omission often goes on for generations, leaving in place a property with a clouded title, that cannot be sold or transferred easily.
Mr. King will represent individuals in this predicament, and try to prevent any confusion upon the death or illness of a loved one, by drafting a clear Will, Living Will, Power of Attorney, and/or Health Care Proxy.
What is a Will?
A will is a document created by an individual, often with the assistance of an attorney, which gives direction on what to do with his or her property and other assets after his or her death. It also appoints the person who will have authority over all the affairs of the induvial after their death, including taking an inventory of all property, making sure the details of the will are carried out, and often is given authority over funeral arrangements and the like.
Why is it important to have a will?
Many people do not realize that without a will, you have no control over how your wishes are carried out after your death. All of it will controlled by the particular laws in your state, based on who is most closely related to you. Do you want your absent, estranged father inheriting all of your property and making decisions concerning your funeral, just because he is the closest relative recognized by the law? Do you want to leave your affairs to the discretion of your first cousin with whom you did not get along with in life, just because the law says so? Then you need a will. You ALWAYS need a will, no matter how rich or poor you are.
What is Estate Administration?
Estate administration is the process of managing and distributing the assets of someone who passed away, and it is referred to legally as probate. The person managing the process is called the executor if there is a will, and an administrator if there is no will. Probate can be a complicated process filled with time-sensitive procedures such as paying inheritance taxes and notifying creditors. If you are the executor of a will, or the administrator of an estate, the Law
Office of Leon A. King II, Attorney and Counsel at Law can help you with:
What is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows a person, (known as the principal}, to identify and authorize another person, (known as the agent), to take care of legal, medical, and financial matters on their behalf should they be unable to do so themselves.
A power of attorney comes into play when someone becomes incapacitated due to a mental or physical disability. A person may be suffering from dementia or in a coma following an accident, making it impossible for them to take care of important financial matters, or make medical decisions for themselves.
A power of attorney is different from a will in that it has full force and authority while the principal is alive. Once the principal dies, the directions and authority of the executor named in the will, or the administrator named pursuant to state law, takes over these powers.
Why is it important to have a power of attorney?
Do you want to wait until you, (or a loved one), are seriously ill or otherwise incapacitated to decide who should have your power of attorney? Or wait until you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself? Of course not.
The power of attorney must be created before the individual becomes incapacitated, giving people the opportunity to plan with a clear mind whom, and under what conditions, they want to have someone act in their stead.
A power of attorney avoids the headache and much more expensive process of having to hire a lawyer to petition a court for guardianship of an incapacitated person, and the risk of having someone appointed that the incapacitated person would not want having authority over their affairs.
What is a Living Will?
A Living Will “is a document that specifies an individual’s wishes regarding care and treatment if he or she becomes incapacitated, such as limiting life support that only prolongs dying.” (Philadelphia R.O.W.). It applies only while a person is living.
Why is it important to have a living will?
Sadly, family members sometimes become so ill that they cannot make medical decisions on their own. This can be especially painful in those situations in which decisions about whether life support should be discontinued, whether organs should be harvested and donated, and/or whether to place the family member in hospice. In these emotional situations, family members can differ on recalling what the patient’s wishes were, and/or have strong, highly emotional, differing opinions about what should be done, or not done, irrespective of what the patient would have wanted. Having a living will eliminates the confusion, angst, and stress. It clearly outlines what the individual concerned wants done and gives authority to a specific individual or individuals to make sure their wishes are carried out. Having a lawyer create one for each member of the family while they are healthy and clear headed is an excellent way to plan your life.
Petitions for Guardianship
If a person does not have the mental capacity to complete a power of attorney, then the only way to authorize another to act is to obtain a court order appointing a guardian. For this, a petition is filed, and a hearing is held where petitioners and the treating physician will testify as to the patient’s capacity.