What are my rights as an executor?

A person trusted to be the executor of an estate bears the responsibility of ensuring that instructions in the will are devotedly being carried out, and assets are being managed in a way that is responsible and efficient. To allow executors to carry out these tasks, the court grants them certain rights, usually through a document called a letters testamentary.

As an executor, you may have the right to:

  • Be reimbursed for all the expenses you’ve incurred
  • Receive compensation
  • Hire professionals to work with you
  • Liquidate assets in order to manage the estate’s costs or pay the deceased person’s debts
  • Communicate with the people and institutions who had served the testator during his or her lifetime, and those who would normally keep the information about the deceased person confidential

However, executors are almost always under scrutiny from the beneficiaries involved. If you are an executor and have been accused of claims that would need legal guidance and representation to resolve, speak with our team at Peck Ritchey, LLC by calling our Chicago offices at (855) 328-5787 today.

A Will Attorney In Chicago Explains The Difference Between A Living Will And Medical Power Of Attorney

Estate Planning LawyerIf you’ve entered into the estate planning process, you know there are a lot of things that you need to consider. You’ll need a will, but if you think that this is the only document you need to protect your loved ones, you’re incorrect. When you’re planning your estate, make sure to include a living will, as well as a medical power of attorney. However, do you understand the legal implications of each? Take a few minutes to review this explanation from a will attorney in Chicago.

Living Will

A living will is a legal document that spells out exactly what you want to happen in case you’re unable to make medical decisions for yourself. Your attorney should go through a number of ‘what if’ scenarios that could happen, such as:

  • Nutrition. Do you want nutrition or hydration provided if you’re unable to eat or drink on your own?
  • Breathing assistance. If you’re unable to breathe for yourself, do you want a machine to do the breathing for you?
  • Dialysis. If your kidneys shut down, do you want dialysis performed to remove waste?
  • Resuscitation. If your heart stops beating, do you want to have it restarted using CPR or a defibrillator?

Living wills are sometimes also called advanced healthcare directives. Your lawyer will try to cover every possible scenario, but this isn’t always possible.

Medical Power Of Attorney

A medical power of attorney differs greatly from a living will. With a medical power of attorney, patients are actually signing over the decision making capabilities to a friend or family member. It’s important to talk your wishes over with whomever you give medical power of attorney, however. Although you would hope that this person follows your wishes, that doesn’t have to happen. The person appointed power of attorney has full authority to make all medical decisions, regardless of what you want to happen.

What About A Do Not Resuscitate Order?

If you’re in the hospital, you may be asked to sign a paper stating your wishes if your heart stops. This is commonly called a do not resuscitate order, but it’s different than a living will. You do not need to have a document drawn up by an attorney in order to have a DNR order on your hospital paperwork.

With the differences between a living will and a medical power of attorney, it’s important that both documents are a part of your estate planning process. Having these documents prepared by a lawyer is one of the kindest things you can do for your family.

If you’re interested in learning more about how a will attorney in Chicago from Peck Ritchey, LLC, can help you with every step of the estate planning process, please us at (312) 201-0900 or contact us today.

How A Chicago Will Attorney Can Help Alzheimer’s Sufferers And Their Families

WillsLawyerIf you have a family member or close friend who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, you may think that it’s too late to go through the estate planning process or draft a will. However, this isn’t necessarily true. Before you start the planning process to draft legal documents, learn what a Chicago will attorney can — and cannot — do for your family.

An Attorney Can Draft A Will for Alzheimer’s Sufferers

If you’ve ever watched a television drama or movie, you know that someone needs to be ‘of sound mind’ to sign a legal document. However, this can be a little misleading, especially when dealing with Alzheimer’s patients. Many Alzheimer’s patients have periods of time when they’re lucid and during these times can be found competent to sign a will. He or she will need to meet the following requirements:

  • He or she knows who his or her spouse or children are.
  • He or she understands that he or she is signing a will.
  • He or she understands what type of property he or she owns.
  • He or she is able to determine where the property should go after his or her death.

What If There’s A Legal Guardianship In Place?

If someone has a legal guardianship in place, it is possible to still sign legal documents. However, the individual needs to meet all the above criteria. If it can’t be met, then their attorney and all the other parties will have to meet at another time.

Many Alzheimer’s patients suffer from Sundowner’s Syndrome. This happens in the later part of the day and can lead to extra confusion, memory loss, agitation, and even anger. For this reason, it’s a good idea to meet with an attorney early in the day instead of in the afternoon or early evening. Look for an attorney who has experience in dealing with Alzheimer’s patients because they will understand that you may need an early appointment.

What If The Person Is Physically Unable To Sign The Document?

In some cases, the person may be physically unable to sign the document. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the document isn’t legal. As long as the individual understands what is going on, they can simply make an X or even direct someone else to sign for them. The most important thing here is the intent — not the physical ability.

What If An Attorney Determines That The Individual Is Unfit To Sign?

Attorneys are concerned with following the law and if an attorney determines that your loved one isn’t fit to sign, you won’t be able to have a will created. This is why it’s so important to contact an attorney before symptoms become too severe.

If you have a parent or family member who’s showing early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, one of the best things you can do is to get them to visit with an attorney as quickly as possible. Coming up with a plan for your parent or loved one is one of the kindest things you can do for them.

To learn more about us or to find your own Chicago will attorney, please call us today at (312) 201-0990.