Workshop provides guidance on essential legal documents

PIERCEC OUNTY — The saying goes, “Lack of preparation on your part does not require a crisis on my part.” Yet many Americans have failed to prepare the most essential legal documents – will, power of attorney, and advance directives for finances and health care. Spouses or families are often left to make many decisions without the expressed wishes of their loved one.last-will-and-testament-gold-writing_573x300

Forbes magazine reports that 51% of Americans age 55 to 64 don’t have wills. Worse, 62% of those, ages 45 to 54 — and 67% of women that age — haven’t drafted wills. It is also reported that 64% of the public in general doesn’t have a will. Figures for powers of attorney and advance directives are no better.

“Every day people have tragic accidents or die unexpectedly,” said Aaron Van Valkenburg, Pierce County Aging & Disability Resources manager.  “At that point families start asking themselves what they should do and what their family member would want done. Without specific documents at hand, actions will be taken and questions will linger.”

Creating a will and reviewing it regularly is sound advice. But more people are also deciding to place their property in a trust. Doing that depends on many personal factors. Equally important is to create advance directives — written instructions about future medical care in the event you are unable to express your medical wishes. In addition, designating another person(s) as power of attorney for healthcare and/or finances takes careful thought and conversation.

The presenter for the workshops will be Attorney Linda Lysne, estate and trust planning, probate & trust administration and elder law. The free workshops are sponsored by the Pierce County Aging and Disability Resource Center. No RSVP is required. A recording of the presentations will be available after the event on the ADRC website at www.PierceADRC.org. For more information call 253-798-4600.

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