Planning for end-of-life matters is never fun, but Kirven Law, LLC tries to make it a smooth and quick process from start to finish. Attorney Stacy M. Kirven is experienced in drafting Last Wills & Testaments, Powers of Attorney, and Living Wills. These services are offered as a package or you can pick and choose what fits your needs.
Power of Attorney
At its most basic, a power of attorney is a legal document that designates to another person the authority to take some action on the signer’s behalf. A Power of Attorney can be used for a variety of purposes. For example, a businessman can approve an agent to sign contracts in his name. The Power of Attorney gives the agent the right to bind the purchaser to the contract as if the purchaser had signed it himself.
In Wyoming, this type of Power of Attorney becomes invalid once the person granting the power is incapacitated or can not make their own sound decisions. That is where a Durable Power of Attorney comes into play.
Durable Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney is a document that the grantor can sign to allow for the agent (the person they are giving the power to) to make decisions after the grantor is incapacitated. This allows the agent to make decisions about the incapacitated person’s medical, financial, and other needs. Without a Durable Power of Attorney, if you or a loved one is incapacitated, the court can appoint a guardian that will have control of all of the decision-making processes, even if they go against the family’s wishes. There is little oversight into these guardians and allegations of misuse of funds, selling of assets and more are a common occurrence. To safeguard you and your loved ones, make sure that you speak to an attorney and have a Durable Power of Attorney in case it is needed.
A Living Will is similar to a Durable Power of Attorney but is solely focused on health care decisions. In Wyoming, an Advanced Health Care Directive (AHCD) is a legal document outlining the wishes of the signer in case they are medically incapacitated. It gives “provides instructions to medical professionals regarding the signer’s medical treatment and end of life care.” The main purpose of an AHCD is to communicate the wishes to both medical professionals and loved ones so that they have guidance in making the health care decisions for the grantor. It also can act as a Power of Attorney for health care decisions. Designating the person that they wish to be given the power to make health care decisions for them if incapacitated. Many people became aware of Living Will’s during the Terri Schiavo case in the early 2000s. In that case, her husband wished to remove her from life support after several years of incapacitation but her parents wanted to keep her on life support as long as possible. This resulted in years of legal battles, medical bills, attorney’s fees, and irreparable harm to the family.
Last Will & Testament
If you die in Wyoming without a will, you no longer have control over your estate. A Last Will & Testament is a vital part of the Estate Planning process. Without a will, Wyoming inheritance laws will determine who is entitled to your estate and what portion they will receive. this is something many people do not know. If you pass away, your wife does not simply inherit your estate. This is only the case if you have no living descendants. However, if you have children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren they will all be entitled to a portion of your estate based on Wyoming inheritance laws. It is vital to make sure that you have a Last Will & Testament in order to ensure that your wishes for your estate are followed. When a loved one passes away, the last thing anyone wants is adding the burden of navigating the Probate courts without a Last Will & Testament. When families are distraught, it can lead to fighting and animosity which is something everyone would prefer to avoid.