Criminal defense cases cover both criminal suits — charges brought by the government to punish an individual for an act classified as a crime — and civil suits — claims brought by individuals or organizations as a dispute over rights and duties.
Our law office is a personal injury and criminal defense law firm; however, we still get many questions regarding other areas of law. One topic that pops up from time to time is the topic of Wills, or a Last Will and Testament. Most people feel they should have a will, but are not exactly sure why or how to go about it. Again, we are a firm that specializes in providing attorney services for persons injured in car/truck accidents or arrested on criminal charges such as DUI, so I am not about to delve into detail on the topic of estate planning. What I will do is briefly describe what some of the most important documents are that usually accompany a standard estate plan.
While it is not a bad idea for everyone to be prepared for the worst; if you are single, have no children and do not own any assets, drafting a will probably does not need to be on the top of your list of things to do. On the other hand, you may still want to make sure you have the proper documents in place should something happen and you are unable to make your own financial or healthcare decisions. If you have significant assets it’s a good idea to have a will or a trust in place; and if you have minor children, you should definitely have a will in place, if for no other reason than to determine who will take over guardianship of your children should something happen to you.
There are various documents that often accompany a will or trust when an estate plan is prepared. The main documents you will want to make sure are included with your estate plan are Powers of Attorney. Other documents that are often included as well are Advanced Directives and Living Wills. Advanced directives and living wills state what medical care you would like to receive should you become incapacitated, and they direct your physicians on how to handle your care in certain scenarios. Powers of Attorney appoint a representative to take control and make decisions on your behalf should you become incapable of making the decisions yourself. A financial power of attorney states who will have control of your finances and make financial decisions on your behalf, whereas a healthcare power of attorney appoints an individual to make decisions concerning your healthcare should you end up in a state where you are unable to do so on your own.
The bottom line is if you have kids or have accumulated significant assets, take the time to have a will drafted. Simple estate plans do not take too much time to prepare and are relatively inexpensive considering the peace of mind they provide and the conflict they often prevent between family and loved ones.