Easy Will and Living Will Kit with CD

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Simple forms that protect and save money for you and your family.

Admit it. You have been thinking about getting together all the documents you need to protect yourself and your family should something unexpected happen. But the thought of the time it would take and the amount of work involved has just seemed like too much. Not anymore.

The Easy Will and Living Will Kit provides all the documents you need in one place. In just minutes, you can ...

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Overview

Simple forms that protect and save money for you and your family.

Admit it. You have been thinking about getting together all the documents you need to protect yourself and your family should something unexpected happen. But the thought of the time it would take and the amount of work involved has just seemed like too much. Not anymore.

The Easy Will and Living Will Kit provides all the documents you need in one place. In just minutes, you can follow the simple steps it takes to prepare your will, living will and powers of attorney. Begin by choosing the will form that is right for you.

Every form is ready-to-use and modifiable for your needs.

Putting your affairs in order has never been easier.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The documents named in the title of this book are essential to ensuring the proper management of one's affairs upon incapacity or death. Readers will learn how to create a will that distributes property according to their wishes and how to write a living will that specifies preferences about medical care if they become permanently unconscious. In addition, they will find instruction for making a power of attorney to designate an agent to act on financial matters if they become incapacitated. Chambers, an attorney specializing in estate planning, explains the role of each and offers completed forms as examples. These specifically address individual situations based on marital status and whether or not there are children involved. The author's explanations are written in plain English and presented as answers to clients' questions about the documents based on common circumstances. She covers changing and revoking a will and specifies situations that require legal advice because they are not covered by the forms in the book. A CD-ROM with blank forms comes with the book. Recommended for most public libraries. (CD-ROM not seen.)-Joan Pedzich, Harris Beach PLLC, Rochester, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781572484818
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/1/2005
  • Edition description: BK&CD-ROM
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 10.88 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Joy S. Chambers has practiced law for nearly three decades in Metropolitan Washington, D.C. For the past twenty-five years, she has had a successful private practice in historic Old Town Alexandria, VA, specializing in wills, trusts, and estates. Her interest in this field has expanded to include a broad spectrum of social issues facing older Americans. Ms. Chambers, who is trained in psychiatry as well as law, is particularly interested in how the mind ages, and specializes in assisting clients in planning for potential disabilities by using available legal tools.

Ms. Chambers is committed to educating the public about the issues she sees in her daily practice-seeing her advocacy and outreach as a logical extension of her practice. She produces and hosts a weekly cable television program, "Maturity," which explores issues of interest to seniors. Her column, "Maturity Watch," appears regularly in the Alexandria Gazette. She is a frequent contributor to other publications with senior audiences, including the AARP Bulletin and McGraw-Hill's Elder Care/Law, and has appeared on CNN and MSNBC.

Since establishing her practice, Ms. Chambers has been an enthusiastic educator of law students at local universities. As Adjunct Professor at the George Washington University Law School, she has designed and taught an innovative course, Law and Psychiatry, which utilized films concerned with mental illness as a springboard for discussions. Recently, Ms. Chambers extended her academic activities into the international arena, teaching a two-week course in American inheritance and disability planning law at the National University Law School in Bangalore, India-thus offering members of another culture the opportunity to learn aspects of this country's legal system. She has been invited to teach similar courses at other Indian universities in late 2005 and early 2006.

Ms. Chambers has advanced elder concerns in a variety of civic capacities. She was appointed by the governor of Virginia to the Joint Legislative Subcommittee on Legal Guardianship, and frequently advises state legislators on probate and related concerns. A member of the Virginia and District of Columbia Bar Associations, she has served on various committees making recommendations about legal issues. She has served on the Executive Committee of the Alexandria Commission of Aging and is a former Vice President of the Northern Virginia Estate Planning Council.

Ms. Chambers earned her JD degree at the George Washington University Law School, with additional studies at the University of London prior to practicing law. She has been a visiting researcher at Harvard Law and Medical Schools, and is currently pursuing studies in Islamic law and international relations at the Johns Hopkins School of International Affairs. Most recently, Ms. Chambers has been named a Senior Specialist for the Fulbright Program.
Ms. Chambers is a native of Mobile, Alabama.

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Read an Excerpt

What You Need to Know about Wills

The first thing you should know about Wills is that every adult should have one. A carefully considered, up-to-date, legally valid Will that accurately reflects your wishes gives you a greater sense of control over your life.

What is a Will?
Basically, a Will is a legal document that provides for the disposition of your property after your death. In it, you name an executor to see that your wishes are carried out, under the guidance of the court. You also designate beneficiaries, the people to whom you wish to leave your property. While you may think of property as real estate, the term encompasses all your possessions-bank accounts, investments, home, car, recreational equipment and vehicles, books, jewelry, and more. The sum of your property and your money is considered your estate.

No Will If you die intestate (without a Will), your wishes may not be honored. In fact, they may not be known or understood. Nearly everyone has heard of at least one instance in which the absence of a Will caused great distress among family members. This may not be due to greed, but to varying interpretations of what you would want, sincerely put forth by your loved ones. Among people in the throes of grief, small differences can rapidly escalate into major rifts.

If you die without a Will, a judge will appoint an administrator (rather than an executor you would choose) and your property will be distributed according to your state's laws of intestate succession. The process may cost considerable money and time, not to mention the emotional havoc wreaked on your survivors. You may have shared your intentions with your loved ones, but only a valid Will can assure that those intentions become reality in probate court. Finally, if you die without any relatives that can be located, your estate will go to the state.

Your Will and Probate On the other hand, if you have a valid Will (testate), the person you have named as executor will be responsible for settling your affairs and distributing your property to the beneficiaries you have named. You can be assured that your wishes are honored without more stress and strain on your loved ones.

Your property, however, will not automatically pass to your beneficiaries at your death. First, your Will must be probated, a legal procedure that takes time. Upon your death, the person you have named your executor is responsible for going to court to begin the probate process. The court verifies that your Will is valid, including verification of witnesses to the signing of your Will. Once your Will is proven to be valid, the court-supervised process of transferring your property to your beneficiaries begins.

Your choice of an executor is critical. This should be someone you trust implicitly to carry out the provisions of your Will in a professional manner. Many people name a spouse or adult child. It is perfectly legal for someone who will benefit from your Will to serve as executor. In fact, someone with a financial interest may be especially conscientious. In any case, an executor performs his or her duties under the supervision of the court.

Before naming an executor, be sure to discuss it with the person you are considering, as it is a serious commitment. If no one comes immediately to mind, think carefully about any relatives or close friends that you consider reliable. A bank or trust company is a possibility, but modest estates may not be a priority for them and the fees may be considerable.

Some states restrict the right of a nonresident to serve as an executor. It may be permissible by preparing additional paperwork or posting bond, but nevertheless, it should be a consideration.

Probate can be a lengthy, complex process, but you can expedite it by completing a simple document-a Self-Proving Affidavit-and attaching it to your Will. In this form, a notary attests to your witnesses' signatures. As this is an important step in validating your Will, much time can be saved by not having to locate witnesses to testify in court, perhaps years after witnessing your Will.

Limitations of a Will Some assets-such as retirement plans, life insurance, and other property with named beneficiaries-are not controlled by your Will. They have beneficiary designation clauses, in which the beneficiary named in the account or policy receives the asset rather than the beneficiary named in your Will.

Other assets not controlled by your Will are a pay-on-death bank or stock brokerage accounts. With these types of accounts, you name a person to receive any remaining funds in your checking, savings, or similar accounts at your death. The beneficiary has no right to funds while you are alive, and you can change the beneficiary at any time. The beneficiary named in the account receives the assets, not the beneficiary named in your Will.

In the case of co-owned property, such as real estate and cars, what happens to your share depends on the type of co-ownership.

? If you co-own the property as tenants by the entirety with your spouse,
your share automatically goes to your spouse at your death. Your Will cannot supersede this law. This is how most married couples jointly own their homes.

? If you co-own property as joint tenants, the laws of most states provide that your share will be given to the surviving joint tenant at your death, not the beneficiary named in your Will.

? If you co-own the property as tenants in common, your share can be controlled by your Will and inherited by people other than the surviving tenants in common.

There is no need to probate assets that are not controlled by your Will. (Remember, probate is the court-supervised transfer of assets controlled by your Will.) The main way you can avoid probate is to own your assets during your lifetime in a way that allows your assets to pass at your death without being controlled by your Will.

Death and Taxes Death and taxes are inexorably linked in many minds, but when it comes to your estate, there is good news. In 2005, the federal government only taxes estates of $1.5 million or more, with increased exemptions for the next several years. Thus, if your estate (including real estate equity and life insurance) totals less than $1.5 million, your beneficiaries can receive it free of federal estate taxes. States vary widely regarding estate taxes, but the state estate tax is far less than the federal estate tax levied on estates in excess of $1.5 million.

Addressing the Needs of Children Yet another reason for having a Will is to provide for the care of any minor children you have. If you have minor children, part of your Will-making process will be to appoint a guardian in the event of the death of both parents. Should both parents die without a Will, the court will appoint a guardian for them until they reach legal majority (18 years of age in most states). The court considers what is in the best interests of the child, with great weight put on the parents' view of the person best suited to be guardian. The appropriate place for parents to express this view is in their Wills.

Should your spouse not be living, you will want to establish a trust to provide for your children financially until they become mature enough to responsibly manage their inheritance. In addition, you will want to select a trustee to manage your property for your children until they reach maturity. With regards to anyone you name in your Will to serve a specific role-executor, guardian, or trustee-you should always name an additional person to serve as an alternate, should the first person you name be unable or unwilling to fulfill his or her role.

A Continuing Process Perhaps you have already realized that you need to change your Will as your situation in life changes. You get married; you get divorced. Your children are minors; your children grow up. Even if you have a Will and your life situation does not change, over the years the people you have entrusted to carry out your wishes do change. They move away. They get sick. They also get older and may no longer feel capable of taking on new responsibilities.

Your Will should reflect your present needs. It is wise to review your Will, Power of Attorney for Finances, and Health Care Advance Directive every five years, or sooner, if major changes occur in your life.

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Table of Contents

How to Use the CD-ROM Using Self-Help Law Books

Introduction

Frequently Asked Questions

Chapter 1: What You Need to Know about Wills
- What is a Will?
- No Will
- Your Will and Probate
- Limitations of a Will
- Death and Taxes
- Addressing the Needs of Children
- A Continuing Process
- A Conversation about Wills

Chapter 2: Your Simple Will
- Six Steps to Preparing Your Document
- Married with Adult Children (Will Form 1)
- Sample, Filled-In Will Form 1-Married with Adult Children
- Continuing the Conversation about Will Form 1
- Instructions for Completing the Draft Will Form 1-Married with Adult Children
- Draft Form 1-Married with Adult Children
- Married with Young Children (Will Form 2)
- Sample, Filled-In Will Form 2-Married with Young Children
- Continuing the Conversation about Will Form 2
- Instructions for Completing the Draft Will Form 2-Married with Young Children
- Draft Form 2-Married with Young Children
- Married without Children (Will Form 3)
- Sample, Filled-In Will Form 3-Married without Children
- Continuing the Conversation about Will Form 3
- Instructions for Completing the Draft Will Form 3-Married without Children
- Draft Form 3-Married without Children
- Unmarried with Adult Children (Will Form 4)
- Sample, Filled-In Will Form 4-Unmarried with Adult Children
- Continuing the Conversation about Will Form 4
- Instructions for Completing the Draft Will Form 4-Unmarried with Adult Children
- Draft Form 4-Unmarried with Adult Children
- Unmarried with Young Children (Will Form 5)
- Sample, Filled-In Will Form 5-Unmarried with Young Children
- Continuing the Conversation about Will Form 5
- Instructions for Completing the Draft Will Form 5-Unmarried with Young Children
- Draft Form 5-Unmarried with Young Children
- Unmarried without Children (Will Form 6)
- Sample, Filled-In Will Form 6-Unmarried without Children
- Continuing the Conversation about Will Form 6
- Instructions for Completing the Draft Will Form 6-Unmarried without Children
- Draft Form 6-Unmarried without Children
- Witness Signatures

Chapter 3: The Self-Proving Affidavit
- Self-Proving Affidavit State List
- Sample, Filled-In Form A-Self-Proving Affidavit
- Sample, Filled-In Form B-Self-Proving Affidavit
- Sample, Filled-In Form C-Self-Proved Will Page-New Hampshire
- Sample, Filled-In Form D-Self-Proved Will Affidavit-Texas
- Instructions for Completing the Draft Form-Self-Proving Affidavit Form A
- Instructions for Completing the Draft Form-Self-Proving Affidavit Form B
- Instructions for Completing the Draft Form-Self-Proving Affidavit Form C (New Hampshire)
- Instructions for Completing the Draft Form-Self-Proving Affidavit Form D (Texas)
- Draft Form A-Self-Proving Affidavit
- Draft Form B-Self-Proving Affidavit
- Draft Form C-Self-Proved Will Page-New Hampshire
- Draft Form D-Self-Proved Will Affidavit-Texas

Chapter 4: Your Health Care Advance Directive (Living Will)
- What is a Health Care Advance Directive?
- Your Risk without a Directive
- Choosing an Agent
- If You Change Your Mind
- Keeping Loved Ones Informed
- Organ Donation
- Sample, Filled-In Form-Health Care Advance Directive
- A Conversation about Health Care Advance Directives
- Instructions for Completing the Draft Health Care
- Advance Directive Form
- Draft Form-Health Care Advance Directive

Chapter 5: Your Power of Attorney for Finances
- What is a Power of Attorney?
- Your Risk without a Power of Attorney
- Choosing Your Agent
- Honoring a Financial Power of Attorney
- Completing the Form
- Sample, Filled-In Form-Power of Attorney
- A Conversation about Financial Powers of Attorney
- Instructions for Completing the Draft Power of Attorney Form
- Draft Form-Power of Attorney

Chapter 6: Preparing and Signing Your Final Documents
- Preparing Your Final Will
- Executing Your Final Will and Self-Proving Affidavit
- Preparing Your Final Health Care Advance Directive and Power of Attorney
- Signing Your Final Health Care Advance Directive and Power of Attorney

Chapter 7: Storing, Revoking, or Changing Your Will
- Your Will
- Originals vs. Copies of Your Will
- Revoking Your Will
- When to Make a New Will
- Your Health Care Advance Directive
- What to Do with Your Directive
- Revoking or Changing Your Directive
- When to Make a New Directive
- Your Power of Attorney
- Where to Store Your Power of Attorney
- Originals vs. Copies of the Power of Attorney
- Revoking or Changing Your Power of Attorney
- When to Make a New Power of Attorney

Glossary Appendix: Blank Forms Index About the Author

Joy S. Chambers has practiced law for nearly three decades in Metropolitan Washington, D.C. For the past twenty-five years, she has had a successful private practice in historic Old Town Alexandria, VA, specializing in wills, trusts, and estates. Her interest in this field has expanded to include a broad spectrum of social issues facing older Americans. Ms. Chambers, who is trained in psychiatry as well as law, is particularly interested in how the mind ages, and specializes in assisting clients in planning for potential disabilities by using available legal tools.

Ms. Chambers is committed to educating the public about the issues she sees in her daily practice, seeing her advocacy and outreach as a logical extension of her practice. She produces and hosts a weekly cable television program, "Maturity," which explores issues of interest to seniors. Her column, "Maturity Watch," appears regularly in the Alexandria Gazette. She is a frequent contributor to other publications with senior audiences, including the AARP Bulletin and McGraw-Hill's Elder Care/Law, and has appeared on CNN and MSNBC.

Since establishing her practice, Ms. Chambers has been an enthusiastic educator of law students at local universities. As Adjunct Professor at the George Washington University Law School, she has designed and taught an innovative course, Law and Psychiatry, which utilized films concerned with mental illness as a springboard for discussions. Recently, Ms. Chambers extended her academic activities into the international arena, teaching a two-week course in American inheritance and disability planning law at the National University Law School in Bangalore, India-thus offering members of another culture the opportunity to learn aspects of this country's legal system. She has been invited to teach similar courses at other Indian universities in late 2005 and early 2006.

Ms. Chambers has advanced elder concerns in a variety of civic capacities. She was appointed by the governor of Virginia to the Joint Legislative Subcommittee on Legal Guardianship, and frequently advises state legislators on probate and related concerns. A member of the Virginia and District of Columbia Bar Associations, she has served on various committees making recommendations about legal issues. She has served on the Executive Committee of the Alexandria Commission of Aging and is a former Vice President of the Northern Virginia Estate Planning Council.

Ms. Chambers earned her JD degree at the George Washington University Law School, with additional studies at the University of London prior to practicing law. She has been a visiting researcher at Harvard Law and Medical Schools, and is currently pursuing studies in Islamic law and international relations at the Johns Hopkins School of International Affairs. Most recently, Ms. Chambers has been named a Senior Specialist for the Fulbright Program.
Ms. Chambers is a native of Mobile, Alabama.

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