Plan for the tough stuff- Wills

July 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

I like a plan. I’d feel better if you have one , too. Especially when life’s circumstances are tumultuous as in the case of illness and death. And, sweetie, when you love someone and the difficulties of life- and death- happen to you, that time of crisis is NOT the time to be without a written plan of action. Here are some of the documents that may help your family.

  Testamentary will – this is the will that you are familiar with in that it is the will that becomes effective upon death. In this document you state how you want property divided: your house, the camp, your other assets. Assets that already have a listed beneficiary, such as an insurance policy, an IRA or an annuity, will pass automatically to the person named. So if your mom or your ex-husband are listed as beneficiaries on your IRA, and that isn’t your intention, you’d better get a change of beneficiary form as those folks will get your assets, regardless of what you write in a will.

 Living will – This document provides instructions for your wishes when you are still alive. There may be a time when you cannot speak for yourself because of a medical emergency. A living will gives some instruction for what you’d like concerning medication, procedures, etc. and the types of care for which you would give consent should you be able to speak for yourself.

 In the State of Maine, Advanced Directions are provided at no cost from site. In the document a living will as well as a Power of Attorney (POA) for Health Care is included. A POA allows you to appoint someone who will be your advocate only in the area of health care. POA can be written in a general way so that finance and health care decisions are permissible. But in the document from the State of Maine the POA is narrowly defined for health care decisions.  (See this link for more information )

 A Living Will is NOT a Living Trust. A Living Trust is an instrument to manage your assets in life.

 Ethical will – The documents discussed above care for essential needs. But they don’t tell your kids, or other family, what you hope for them as they continue to live their lives without you. An ethical will shares your ‘personal mission statement.’ In it you express your values and perhaps, your hopes of the future, and decisions your family may make. An ethical will is the story of who you are and the virtues and values that you feel defined your life. The document is meant to pass on your love. Maybe it is saying the things from your heart that weren’t easy to communicate while you were alive. You know families.

 Learn more about an ethical will at

 I’ll feel cozier if you have a plan. It allows you to control some part of life when life seems out of control.


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