What is Estate Planning?

Many believe that Estate Planning only includes your wishes for after death, but it is so much more! Estate Planning outlines essential matters for your loved ones for when you are ill and after you have departed this earthly world. We at Siferd & Associates, located in Lima, Ohio, include Durable Power of Attorney, Advanced Directives, and the Last Will & Testament in our Estate Planning.


Durable Power of Attorney

A Durable Power of Attorney (POA) allows you to assign a specific person(s) to act on your behalf. When determining your POA, it is up to you how much authority you give. Your POA can pay your bills, make financial decisions on your behalf, buy/sell real estate for you, make decisions regarding your investments, handle litigation matters for you, and more. It is up to you.

Often, people without a POA find themselves in trouble when they have a severe medical emergency that may render them unable to make decisions or complete necessary tasks. Without a POA in place, you may default on your bills, your home could get foreclosed, and suffer other negative consequences.

Additionally, if you suffer from a severe brain injury, stroke, Alzheimer’s, or any other condition that limits your cognitive function and you do not have a POA, you could become dependent on the court system to assign a Guardian of the Estate. A Guardian of the Estate may not know you, but they will make all financial decisions for you. If you would rather be in control of who makes important decisions regarding your finances, contact Siferd & Associates today!


Advanced Directives

Advanced Directives is a legal document that typically includes a Living Will and Healthcare Representative. This document may also include wishes important so your wishes regarding medical care and treatment are known and followed if you cannot make decisions for yourself.

A Living Will instructs your loved one(s) and your treating medical providers regarding medical treatment if you become incapacitated.  You can provide specific instructions regarding resuscitation, intubation, blood transfusions, organ donations, life-preserving nutrition, and more. In addition, it gives the name(s) and contact information of a person(s) that you choose to make medical decisions for you.

The Healthcare Durable Power of Attorney is similar to the Living Willing in that you elect a person(s) you trust to make healthcare decisions if you are unable. Anyone named within the Healthcare Durable Power of Attorney is bound by all specific instructions you outline within. When selecting a Healthcare Power of Attorney, it is best to choose someone you trust and who knows you well enough to make medical decisions similar to what you would decide if you were so able.

To ensure your medical wishes are followed, contact Siferd & Associates today to schedule an appointment to execute your Advanced Directives.


Last Will & Testament

Last Will & Testament contains your final wishes for the distribution of assets upon death. It can override the “law” in terms of distribution. In addition, it also allows you to appoint an executor, who winds up your final affairs and ensures your wishes are abided by. Regardless of how small or large your estate is, a Last Will & Testament is a MUST and an integral part of the Estate Planning process.

When one passes away without a will, they die intestate, meaning someone will come forward to be the administrator of the estate, or the court will appoint an administrator. The administrator will have the same responsibilities as an executor, except the law binds them rather than the decedent’s wishes. That means they can sell all of your real and personal property, and the distribution of assets is determined by law.

However, someone with a Last Will & Testament will pass testate, meaning if the will is valid, an Executor is appointed who must follow the decedent’s wishes. Specific bequeaths (gifts) may be made within a will, which must be honored, barring the necessity of sale to pay outstanding debt. In addition, the decedent can decide how all remaining assets of their estate are distributed and may not be bound by the law.

To ensure your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets after death are followed, contact Siferd & Associates of Lima, Ohio, today, to schedule your appointment!