Estate planning is planning for the future. It is a way for you to make decisions about yourself and your assets instead of leaving those decisions to someone else. A proper estate plan should ensure that you make your own decisions concerning your future and decide how your property is to be distributed.
When a person cannot take care of himself or herself, the court can place the person under guardianship. The person under the guardianship is called a “ward,” and the ward loses the legal ability to act on his or her own behalf. A guardian is appointed by the court to have the legal right and duty to care for the ward with the powers and duties over the ward’s person. A conservatorship is over the “estate” of the ward, that is all of the money and property owned by the ward. Often the petition for guardianship is for “Guardian and Conservator” because usually the ward needs both a guardian and a conservator, and one person can fill both roles.
Wills are detailed written documents stating the wishes of the deceased after death, particularly regarding property. In Mississippi, your will is validated after you turn 18 years old and are of sound state of mind. When the will of a deceased friend or family member is filed with the court for distribution of the individual’s estate, it is a process called probate. Greer Law Firm can assist you with filing the necessary paperwork and ensure that your deceased friend or family member’s affairs are handled efficiently and correctly.
If you have a family member, loved one, or friend who has lost the power of self control over drugs or alcohol, or who refuses to seek treatment for dangerous psychiatric problems, there are steps you can take to get them the help that they need. You may have tried an intervention or insisted upon rehab, but to no avail. Greer Law Firm, PLLC can assist you with getting an individual with psychiatric, drug, or alcohol problems involuntarily committed.
Power of Attorney
For most people, the durable power of attorney is the most important estate planning instrument available. A power of attorney allows a person you appoint to act in your place for financial purposes when and if you ever become incapacitated.
In that case, the person you choose will be able to step in and take care of your financial affairs. Without a durable power of attorney, no one can represent you unless a court appoints a conservator or guardian. That court process takes time, costs money, and the judge may not choose the person you would prefer.
Advanced Healthcare Directives
An advance health care directive is a legal document that gives instructions about the medical treatment and care you want to receive if you later become too ill to communicate or make decisions. Advance directives in Mississippi can include one or more of the following parts:
- Power of Attorney for Health Care: You can select someone to be your agent to make health care decisions for you. You can indicate you want your agent to act for you only if you are incapacitated. Or, or you can have your agent immediately begin to make your health care decisions even when you’re still able to make them.
- Instructions for Health Care: You can give specific instructions regarding your health care. You may indicate whether you want to receive life-sustaining treatment, like artificial respiration or feeding tubes if you become terminally ill or permanently unconscious.
- Primary Physician: You can name the doctor primarily responsible for your health care.
- Donation of Organs at Death: You chose whether to donate organs or other body parts upon your death.
A will contest is a formal objection raised against the validity of a will, based on the contention that the will does not reflect the actual intent of the testator (the party who made the will). Will contests generally focus on the assertion that the testator lacked testamentary capacity, was operating under an insane delusion, or was subject to undue influence or fraud. A will may be challenged in its entirety, or only in part.