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Last Will & Testament FAQs

Your assets will be distributed according to the laws of the state you live in. In some states, a spouse may have a right to a certain amount of your assets regardless of what your Will directs. This would apply to jointly owned accounts or assets and other accounts which have specified beneficiaries which take effect upon death such as life insurance, retirement plans, and employment death benefits.

In general, any adult (depending on the age of majority of your state) of sound mind can make a Will. This means that they are able to think, reason and understand the task at hand. Some states also allow for an emancipated minor, a minor serving in the United States military, or merchant marine to be able to make a Will. 

A Will is customarily read after a person has deceased and their funeral has taken place. It is preferential to share your wishes with your loved ones before you pass, especially those to whom you are granting authority to carry out your wishes, such as a Personal Representative, Trustee, Guardian and the like. 

Funeral arrangements are a matter for a Health Care Directive.  

 

Maintain your essential documents in a secure place. This may be in your Kingfisher Files account, in cloud online storage, in a safe deposit box, or similar secure location. You may also need to share a copy of your essential documents with those you have entrusted with carrying out your wishes should the situation arise. This includes the person who you have appointed as Guardian for your minor children or disabled persons and your Attorney in Fact; the person you have appointed to carry out your medical wishes. 

The request of funeral arrangement may not be followed according to your wishes since a Will is customarily read after a person has passed away and there is proof that they are deceased (i.e. there is a death certificate). Funeral plans, while a weighty subject, should be discussed with your loved ones while you are able to and be included in an Advance Directive. 

A guardian has the legal responsibility equal to that of a parent of a minor child and an adult that is otherwise unable to care for themselves or make rational decisions on health, financial and personal matters. The scope of guardianship varies from state to state, which may be a decision of the Courts, and may include tasks such as making decisions on medical treatment, standard care, daily activities, and enrollment in school.

A Will becomes valid if and only if a number of steps are carried out, including the person requesting the Will proves their identity, confirms they have not been forced to make the decisions in the Will, and signs the document. Most states also require there be witnesses to the signing and a official who certifies the signatures such as a Notary Public. 

Health Care Directive FAQs

An adult or emancipated minor may execute a health care directive. This document may authorize an agent to make any health care decision the patient could have made while having capacity, or may limit the power of the agent, and may include individual instructions. The effect of a health care directive that makes no limitation on the agent’s authority shall be to authorize the agent to make any health care decision the patient could have made while having capacity.

Maintain your essential documents in a secure place. This may be in your Kingfisher Files account, in cloud online storage, in a safe deposit box, or similar secure location. You may also need to share a copy of your essential documents with those you have entrusted with carrying out your wishes should the situation arise. You should bring a copy or e-file of the document with you to a hospital, and inform your physician, the person you have appointed as your health care agent and your family of your wishes.

A Health Care Directive (or a power of attorney for health care) becomes effective only upon a determination that the patient lacks capacity, and ceases to be effective upon a determination that the patient has recovered capacity.

A patient having capacity may revoke the designation of an agent by personally informing the supervising health care provider. A change of marital status (i.e. a decree of annulment, divorce, dissolution of marriage, or legal separation) also revokes a previous designation of a spouse as an agent unless otherwise specified in the Health Care Directive. A Health Care Directive that conflicts with an earlier Directive revokes the earlier directive to the extent of the conflict.

A Health Care Directive  conveys power to an individual to make health care choices on your behalf in the event that you are unable to do so. An Advanced Directive conveys your wishes of what should be done between the time that you die and the time that you are placed in your final resting place, including organ donation and autopsy directives and funeral arrangements. 

This matter is confusing, due to the similar names and different forms needed. To resolve this situation, some states have decided that it is easier to combine the Health Care Directives and Advanced Directives into a single document. Kingfisher Files has followed this leadership and the Health Care Directive and Advanced Directive  are combined on our site. Thus, a single document is produced, signed and notarized. 

This title varies by state. This includes, but is not limited to: Health Care Agent, Agent, Attorney-in-Fact and Proxy. This person does not need be an attorney.

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