Many times, people wonder what documents are contained in comprehensive Estate Planning.  They may be as follows:

  • A Will.
  • A Power Of Attorney
  • A Living Will.
  • A Medical Power Of Attorney.


A Will is a document which sets forth your intention as to who will receive your assets upon your death.  Also, sometimes a Will names a Guardian for your children.  It is important to remember that a Will does not take effect until a person dies.

Power Of Attorney:

A Power Of Attorney is a document which allows a person to act on your behalf.  The person who has your Power Of Attorney can undertake a variety of transactions and actions on your behalf.  That person is called an Agent.  Your Agent can buy and sell real estate on your behalf; buy and sale Stocks and other investments on your behalf; make significant decisions on your behalf, etc.   

In short, a person who has a Power Of Attorney can act on your behalf and do almost anything you can do; however, a person who has your Power Of Attorney cannot do anything which he or she would or should know that you would not want to be done.  An example of this would be taking out money from your bank account and going to Atlantic City and gambling with it.  A Power Of Attorney is an important and very powerful and valuable document.  It is important to give your Power Of Attorney to someone with regard to whom you have complete trust.

If you are married, medical providers, etc., will most likely look to your spouse to determine your intentions; however, if you do not have a spouse, it is extremely important for someone to have a Power Of Attorney so that person (your Agent) can act on your behalf.

 At Pyfer Reese, we strongly recommend that you should have a Power Of Attorney, in addition to a Will.

Medical Power Of Attorney:

A Medical Power Of Attorney is a document that gives someone (usually, but not always, a family member) the right to have access to your medical records and information.  Also, the person who has your Medical Power Of Attorney has a right to make decisions regarding your medical care.

Living Will:

The legal name for Living Will is “Durable Healthcare Power Of Attorney.”  This is a document which sets forth your wishes regarding what will happen to you at the end of your life when there is absolutely no hope for saving your life.  When you prepare a Living Will, you name someone who will carry out your intentions. 

When Your Children Turn 18:

As parents, when your children turn 18, you should talk with them about signing a Power Of Attorney and a Medical Power Of Attorney so that you can have access to information about them (this would include bank records, school records, medical records, etc.).  Additionally, if your child were to have a serious medical condition and is not competent or able to make decisions regarding medical care, you will be able to do so.

How Much Does Preparing a Power of Attorney Cost?

The cost of preparing a Power Of Attorney and Medical Power Of Attorney for a young adult child is less than $500.00.  In the unlikely event that something were to happen to your child after turning 18, such as an accident, a serious illness, etc., and there is no Power Of Attorney and Medical Power Of Attorney, you might have to file a Petition with the Court in order to be appointed Guardian for your child. 

Although the process of obtaining a Guardianship is not legally complex or difficult, it is far more expensive and time-consuming, than simply preparing a Power Of Attorney and Medical Power Of Attorney.  It is also extremely, emotionally difficult for a parent to go through the process of filing a Guardianship.

Professional Advice for Added Assurance

Our Firm can assist you with these issues.  We can also answer any questions you may have about the best way to ensure your estate plan is in order. There is never a better time than now to make sure everything is sorted out. Pyfer Reese offers several convenient ways to connect for your consultation. Talk to one of our professionals today to get started.

Posted in News on by Pyfer Reese.