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Estate Planning: How to be Prepared for an Unexpected Death

Why is estate planning so important? We can all probably agree that talking about or even thinking about death is something most would like to avoid at any cost. Death is never an easy subject. However, being prepared by having an estate plan can help make one of the most difficult times in your life a little less painful.

Actor, Ben Woolf died on Monday afternoon at the age of 34 after being involving in a tragic car related accident. Woolf is known for playing the character, Meep, on the television series American Horror Story: Freak Show. The accident occurred late Thursday night when Woolf was struck in the head by a passing car's side-view mirror. One can only imagine how unexpected and shocking the news must have been to his family. A man of many talents, he was far too young to have his life taken away. Unfortunately, a harsh reality is that accidents such as this occur all too frequently. Families are left grieving, trying to put the pieces of their lives back together while managing the legal affairs of their loved one who has since passed.

So the question remains, what can be done to help simplify the process for those grieving the death of a loved one? Every individual, whether single or married, should have in place three documents that will be extremely effective tools used for managing their affairs when they are no longer with us. These documents include: a will, a power of attorney, and a healthcare directive or living will.

A will is prepared in order to allow the testator to directly express how his or her estate is to be handled. The will sets forth what will happen to personal as well as real property, and any other remaining property at the time of your death. Without a will, your possessions may not end up in the hands of the people you would have otherwise chosen.

A health care directive, also known as a living will, provides instructions to your agent for end of life medical treatment or procedures that you wish to have done. The questions may seem sensitive, but they do need to be answered in order for doctors to know how you would like to be cared for in your final days - and this is an area that can most definitely lead to litigation when it is not properly planned for.

And finally, a power of attorney should be prepared in order to give another individual, somebody you trust implicitly, the power to act on your behalf in areas such as business, finances, real estate, and personal affairs when you are unable to. Hopefully Ben Woolf had his estate in order so his family is not left struggling with anything more than necessary.

If you would like to get your estate in order, contact an experienced attorney at McMorrow Law, LLC at 724-940-0100.

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