One of the ways to gain peace of mind is by planning for your future. Our office works with families to plan after divorce and after being injured by an accident. We also work with families who want to plan to best handle serious illnesses and death within the family. This usually involves one or two appointments to identify your priorities and create the legal structure to address them. We often develop several legal documents that can reduce the hardship to your family in case of illnesses or death. Our attorneys, licensed in West Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia, will tailor a plan specifically for you, generally including a simple will, a living will, a power of attorney and a medical power of attorney. There is no requirement that you have them all, but each of them provides an important function.
- A living will or advanced directive—The living will is the document that lets the doctors and hospital know that you don’t want to be put on life support if it appears that you are not going to be getting better. Sometimes this document is also called an advanced directive. It is best to work with an attorney to prepare the document so that you can be sure that you understand the living will. However, you can also sign a living will without an attorney. You can download sample forms for the living will or advanced directive here for Maryland, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.
- A medical power of attorney or durable power of attorney for health care—Young people, especially those who are not married, may need this document just as much as their parents and grandparents. A medical power of attorney is the document that you sign that allows another person to make important medical decisions for you. We recommend that you work with an attorney to help make the important choices behind the medical power of attorney, however, the form for the document is uniform in most states, including West Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. Click here to download a sample form and instructions.
- Power of attorney—If your name is the only one on your bank, investment or social media account, no one will have access to it if you are injured or become sick, even temporarily. A power of attorney allows someone else to manage your legal and financial matters. There are two types of powers of attorney, a “springing” and a “durable.” Working with an attorney, you can decide whether you want for the power to extend to periods only when you are disabled, or if you want the power to be more general. The format of the document is simple, however, the implications are so important that we recommend that you consult with an attorney before signing a power of attorney.
- A simple will—After death, our money, property and belongings are divided in a way decided by state statutes when we don’t have a will. A will allows someone you trust to divide up your property in the way that you decide. Since some of the items you may want to include in your will may be better transferred in another way, such as through a title or trust, it is best to work with an attorney to help you write your will.
Every family is unique. Please contact us today for us to help you decide how to plan for your future in a way that will be best for your family.