The Finance Blogger


Preparing a Living Will

Preparing a Living WillYou have probably heard of wills and have some idea of what a will is, but what on earth is a living will? It is actually a very important document that goes along with your regular will and should be prepared for everyone. Preparing a Living Will is part and parcel to preparing  a regular will.

A living will is a will that provides someone you trust with the authority to look after your affairs while you are still alive and you cannot or are unable to make your own decisions. Living wills can provide a great deal of authority to someone or they can be specifically limited in the power they give to your living will executors. There are two fundamental areas that need to be discussed. One is about making decisions concerning your personal care when you can no longer make those decisions on your own. The other element is all about managing your assets at a time when you cannot make decisions or have got to the point were you would prefer someone else make those complex decisions for you. Both have specific requirements and we will discuss them next.

Preparing a Living Will – Legal Advice

At this point we need to emphasize that the writer is not a lawyer and even if they were, we would still strongly recommend that you consult a lawyer in the city or town were you live. Every country and state will have different legal rules about what can be allowed so it is best to consult with the experts.

Preparing a living will for Personal Care

A personal care living will is all about giving someone specific instructions regarding how you want to be looked after when you are too sick to do so yourself. Perhaps you have had a stroke and need 24 hour care. Who will make the decisions regarding your care? Who will decide were you live? How much money should they spend?Who will decide whether you should be resuscitated or not? What instructions do you want to give your living will executors?

These are the kind of decisions that someone will be faced with and it is often better that you provide clear instructions regarding what you want done and not leave people guessing when time is critical. The doctors will usually turn to the family. It is a good idea that everyone should communicate with their family members what they would like in this area to avoid any conflict at time when stress is already very high

The best approach is always to over communicate so that there is no doubt left in anyone’s mind. Work with your lawyer to decide what you would like and then give copies to your living will executor and other family members as you see fit.

Preparing a living will for Managing Your Assets

Most people have bank accounts, homes that they live in and bills that they have to pay. Most lenders and utilities, even tax collectors will give you some amount of time to resolve issues, but eventually they all want to get paid. An executor for assets for a living will make sure that all of these bills are paid, taxes filed and all of the usual things we need to manage our normal financial life.

If you are paying someone’s bill most firms and cities will gladly accept your check if it is signed by you and the money is drawn from your account. They will not accept a check signed by someone other than the owner of the account unless you can show you have the authority to do so. A living will is just the instrument that allows this to occur.

Your lawyer will draw up a living will and will stamp it properly and witness it so that it becomes a legal document. When the conditions are such that your executor must step in, your lawyer will provide a copy to the executor who can then use this document in dealing with the banks and other agencies. The banks will want to take a copy of the will for their records before they will give you signing authority to the account of the person you are executor for.

Once you have been given authority, you have the same power over these accounts as if they were your own. The executor has a great deal of responsibility. He or she is managing someone else’s life and must do so in a professional and honest manner. Failing to do so can lead to jail time if there is actual fraud involved.

Duties of a Living Will Executor

The executor must ensure that all bills are paid, file tax reports  as needed and to ensure that the assets of the individual they are looking after are sufficient to provide the proper care for the person that they desire.

This can be a difficult job, especially if there is insufficient funds to handle all of the bills. Use the clients lawyer as a resource and also relatives to assist in the work and the support as needed.

When do the Duties of the Living Will Executor End?

Often the living will executor and the executor of the will after the person has passed away are the same person. However officially the duties of the living will executor end the moment the person passes away and the duties of the will’s executor begin once the will has been read by the lawyer at a meeting convened by the lawyer for the deceased.

Sometimes family members will help to make this happen, however nothing can be done until the will is read in front of the family and the executor assumes his duties. This is an important step that must be executed rapidly since the executor will be asked to make funeral arrangements and the family needs to know if sufficient funds exist to pay all of the fees associated with the funeral.

Finally if you have any questions in this area, consult your lawyer. They understand the local laws and will be able to guide you along. Of course there is always a charge for these services, but sometimes it is just better to do it right the first time and avoid potential costly mistakes and family conflict.

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One Response to “Preparing a Living Will”

  1. We have a living will and a regular will. It was pretty easy with our lawyer and our kids know where things are

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