Estate Planning Attorney Details Essential Documents for Aging and End-of-Life Concerns



Hook Law Center (formerly Oast & Hook)

Hook Law Center (formerly Oast & Hook)

Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) February 12, 2015 – According to Andrew H. Hook, a Virginia estate planning attorney with Hook Law Center, having estate planning documents in place can help prevent problems from occurring as a person ages and after they pass away.

“The goal of estate planning is to make sure that your wishes are followed if you become incapacitated or after your death,” said Hook. “A will, trust, power of attorney and advance health care directive are all important to have in place.”

Hook said that a will is perhaps the most essential estate planning document. A will outlines who will receive which of a person’s assets after he or she dies.

A will should still be written even if a trust is also created. Placing assets in a trust allows them to be distributed without going through probate. Hook explained, “Probate is expensive, it can take months and it’s a public process. Many families prefer the speed and privacy provided by trusts.”

“During estate planning, you also need to think about what will happen if you are too sick to make decisions on your own. Bills still need to be paid, and medical decisions must be made,” said Hook. A financial power of attorney gives a trusted individual the ability to handle financial matters if a person becomes incapacitated. An advance health care directive appoints an agent to make health decisions, and it provides an opportunity to outline wishes about issues like resuscitation, intubation and organ donation.

Finally, Hook emphasized the importance of having these documents created by an estate planning attorney. While some websites or programs promise to produce documents at a low cost, these can often create more trouble in the long run. They may not be individualized to the client’s specific situation, and they may not meet state law requirements.