The Future Is Never Certain
None of us knows what tomorrow might bring, so it’s important to take prudent steps to protect ourselves and the loved ones who depend on us.
We never think it will happen to us. Are your legal and financial affairs in order? Who would pay your bills or make decisions regarding your property? Do your children have special needs? What about your parents? I can help you sort through all of these details and work out a plan that can serve your needs, and protect your and your family’s interests.
I work closely with my clients to draft documents directed specifically toward their needs, including:
- Wills — Every person should have a last will and testament that memorializes their wishes for the final disposition of their assets. If you do not have a will, your property passes to next of kin according to South Carolina’s laws of inheritance without regard to your desires. This means that relatives, friends and charities for which you have a special fondness may be totally left out. I draft clear, concise wills with all the formality necessary to be upheld in probate court.
- Advance healthcare directives — Also known as a living will, this document allows you to make choices about medical care, including the level of lifesaving intervention you would feel comfortable receiving.
- Powers of attorney — These documents allow a person, known as the principal, to transfer decision-making authority to a person they designate as the agent. Powers can be very broad, giving the agent authority over finances and matters related to the principal’s health and welfare, or they can be narrow, based on specific needs. Powers can be transferred at the time the document is executed, or they can “spring” when a triggering circumstance occurs.
- Health care proxies — This narrow power of attorney appoints an agent to make medical decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated.
- Guardianships and conservatorships — Parents can — and should — name guardians for their minor children in their wills in the event of their untimely death. However, seniors who are experiencing the inevitable decline of old age often resist creating powers of attorney, because they don’t want to lose their autonomy. In such cases, their children may petition the court to create a conservatorship. As an elder law attorney, I have represented adult children and adults in hearings to determine whether a conservatorship is appropriate.
It can be challenging to put together all of these documents. I understand and provide the compassionate and experienced legal help you need to effectively deal with these matters.