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LegalWiseNC offers many Wills and Estate Planning services.
- Wills and Estate Planning Packages
- Power of Attorney
- Living Wills and Healthcare Powers of Attorney
- Living Trusts
- Free Estate Administration Forms
We offer a Last Will and Testament standing alone as well as Estate Planning Packages that include all of the following: a Last Will and Testament, a Power of Attorney (durable or non-durable at your choice), a Living Will, a Healthcare Power of Attorney, and a HIPAA medical record authorization. The Estate Planning Package for married couples includes two of each document listed above.
A Power of Attorney is a document that allows you to name an agent who is authorized to act on your behalf with respect to your property and finances. There is a list of powers that you can grant your agent, and your agent will only have the powers you specifically choose to grant. Your Power of Attorney can be “Durable” or “Non-durable.” A Durable Power of Attorney will remain in effect even if you become mentally incapacitated while a Non-durable Power of Attorney will not. All Powers of Attorney become void when the person granting the power dies, so Powers of Attorney can not be used to manage your affairs after death.
A Living Will is a document that allows you to make your wishes known with respect to end-of-life treatments such as life support, artificial breathing, artificial nutrition, etc. What makes a Living Will so valuable and important is the fact that it’s too late to make these decisions once an accident or illness strikes. A Healthcare Power Of Attorney is like a financial Power of Attorney in that it allows you to designate an agent to make decisions for you. However, the Healthcare Power of Attorney grants decision-making authority with respect to medical decisions rather than financial ones.
A Living Trust (also called a Revocable Trust or Inter Vivos Trust) is a document that allows you to hold property as a trustee of your trust rather than in your capacity as an individual. The basic living trust is most often used to supplement or replace a Last Will and Testament. The primary benefit of using a Living Trust to pass property instead of a Last Will and Testament is to avoid probate, which can be expensive and time-consuming. Living Trusts are especially beneficial for passing real estate owned outside the state where you live so that your heirs and executor will not have to deal with the added time, expense, and headache of an ancillary probate administration in the state where the property sits. Trusts can also be used to reduce the amount of estate tax you and/or your spouse will have to pay. If you expect your gross estate to reach or exceed a value of $1 million at the time of death, you should consider the possible estate tax ramifications of your estate plan because the estate tax rate could be as high as 45% or more!
If you find yourself in the position of executor or administrator for an estate, you will probably find our free estate administration forms helpful.