Good Planning to avoid Common Mistakes

People Are Not Invincible - Trust and Will Pitfalls

Trust and Will Mistakes

  1. Becoming Incapacitated without having first executed a Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Affairs (DPOA). We can not overstate the importance of signing a valid DPOA before the point at which you become incapacitated. If you become unable to pay your day to day bills, and there is nobody who has been formally appointed to handle your financial affairs, the only way to appropriately handle the situation is through a Conservatorship. While Conservatorships are functional, they are extremely difficult and costly to obtain and maintain. On the other hand, a valid DPOA, signed before a time of crisis arises, is a relatively simple legal document that appoints a fiduciary agent (family member, trusted friend, or professional fiduciary) to handle the myriad of personal and financial matters that require detailed attention after a medical event resulting in the incapacity.

  2. Becoming Incapacitated without having first signed an Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD). The Advance Health Care Directive, in California, has taken the place of what was formerly known as the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. The Advance Health Care Directive is a document communicates your health care wishes and appoints an agent to carry out such wishes upon the inability to communicate with a treating physician. This document sets forth your decisions about artificial life support, types of treatment you may or may not allow, and other personal health care matters, well in advance of those questions ever arising. Not only does it ensure that your wishes will be heard, but prevents your loved ones from having to guess, or in a worst case scenario, fight about what you would have wanted.

  3. Otherwise Failing to Tend to Your Affairs. After a death, it is always unfortunate to discover that a basic mistake or omission has been made, and a child or friend who would have truly benefitted from an intended gift will not get to receive it. Or, to discover that a decedent’s long-known intention can not be followed because the proper paperwork was not put in place. This sort of issue is discovered in our society on a daily basis, and the only way to avoid it is to seek and hire competent legal counsel at the outset. That is where this firm excels in its service to its clients.