WILLS & ESTATES / END OF LIFE PLANNING
Every adult should have three documents executed:
2. Power of Attorney
3. Medical Power of Attorney
Your Last Will and Testament outlines who you want your property to go to in the event that you die. Many people are surprised to learn that a spouse is not the 1st in line to inherit in Louisiana in the event that a person dies intestate (without a will). The laws of intestacy are different in every state, and everyone should seek legal counsel and make sure that your property is going where you assume it is going if you die. Simple wills are inexpensive, and can eliminate a lot of questions, and potential litigation in the event of death.
Your Power of Attorney designates who has authority over your affairs in the event that you are unable to handle them, either due to incapacity or absence, or if you just need or want someone else to assist in your affairs. Powers of Attorney are useful in many situations, but are probably most commonly used when a person becomes unable to handle their own affairs due to health concerns. It is important to have a Power of Attorney in place at all times, even if you don’t give it to the agent, because it cannot be executed by a person who does not have the mental capacity to sign documents. For example, if you get in an accident and you are incapacitated for an amount of time, your designated agent could handle your affairs, do your banking, pay your bills, etc. But if you don’t have one, the only other option to vest that authority in another person AFTER they are incapacitated is to have them interdicted, as discussed below. I