Are You Prepared To Die? (A Legal Guide)

by Categorized: Health, Personal Finance Date:

This weekend’s Bottom Line column:

Are you ready to die?
Of course not.
But here’s a death-and-dying question every living adult should answer: Do you know the difference between a will and living will?
Maybe not. So stop squirming and find out what you should know about preparing for death, either yours or a loved one’s.

More . . .

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One thought on “Are You Prepared To Die? (A Legal Guide)

  1. T&E paralegal

    This article is so very incomplete.

    The Will can specify who you want to take care of minor children, but if you are critically injured and the family is fighting over your children, it’s totally useless, since a Will isn’t valid while you’re alive. Name a guardian for your children in a separate form, and make sure everyone (especially your children if they’re old enough) knows in advance what your wishes are.

    It’s good to have a living will, but you should also appoint someone as your health care agent. They can make medical decisions on your behalf, should you be unable to do so, and can make sure that your living will is enforced.

    Testamentary trusts (trusts established in a Will) are all well and good, but your sources neglected to mention that testamentary trusts remain subject to Probate Court administration and approval. Inter vivos trusts (living trusts, trusts created during life by a separate document) are NOT subject to Court jurisdiction, are completely private, and may have much simpler terms of administration. Testamentary trusts and living trusts have identical filing requirements for income and estate taxes. Another advantage is that living trusts can be funded during life, so that the trustee gets immediate access to the assets, without having to wait for Probate Court approval.

    Also, regarding out of state property, a living trust is only good if you transfer the property into the trust. Otherwise, you are looking at two separate probate actions, one where you live (domiciliary) and one where your out of state property is located (ancillary).

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