Is it time to start thinking of creating will and power of attorney documents?

Jon Quaglia Wills & Estate

Marlene and Peter make important decisions as they set up their will: Trustee? Assets converted to cash? Power of Attorney?

Are you thinking of setting up a will? Here at J. Quaglia Law Office, all of the wills and estate work at the office falls on the shoulders of my associate Kurtina Hammerlein. Kurtina is a great lawyer who I enjoy working with- rest assured you are in good hands.

Marlene and Peter booked an appointment to talk about their wills and powers of attorney. They are Chatham-Kent born and raised. Marlene and Peter have three healthy, happy kids between the ages of 15 and 25, and they have never had wills or powers of attorney before.  

Kurtina starts with a discussion about wills. She explains that a will becomes effective when a person dies. In a will, there is an Estate Trustee (we used to call them Executors) named. Their job is to secure the deceased’s assets, pay debts, and distribute the money to beneficiaries. Beneficiaries are the persons who receive the deceased’s assets either a fixed amount, a percentage, or residue (whatever is left over).

Like many married couples Peter and Marlene agree that whoever dies first the survivor will be the sole Estate Trustee and the sole beneficiary.

Kurtina has a spirited discussion with Peter and Marlene about who they would appoint as the Estate Trustee if they both die at the same time. Eventually it is decided that they will appoint their oldest daughter and Marlene’s sister as their alternate Estate Trustee. After some discussion it is agreed that they will pay Marlene’s sister $10,000 as compensation if she acts as the estate trustee.

Kurtina suggests to Peter and Marlene that their wills should contain a clause that says when they are both dead all of their assets are to be converted to cash, divided into 3 shares (one for each child), and the money held in trust for the care, education, and advancement in life of each child until each child turns 21 years old and that at age 21 each child would receive their share. Peter and Marlene quickly agree this makes sense.

Next Kurtina explains to them that they should each have a power of attorney for property and a power of attorney for personal care. A power of attorney for property is a document in which each of Peter and Marlene appointment someone to make financial decisions for them if they are deemed unable (due to injury or illness). These financial decisions may include: selling the house, cashing in investments, or starting a law suit. A power of attorney for health care is a document in which each of Peter and Marlene appoint someone to make health care decisions for them if they are unable to do so (due to injury or illness). Again, these decisions may include: food, shelter, clothing, housing, the consent to medical treatment, or the cessation of medical treatment. Again, Peter and Marlene chose to first appoint each other and Marlene’s sister and their oldest daughter as their powers of attorney for property and personal care.

Thanks for reading. Talk soon,

-Jon