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Frequently Asked Questions

Click on one of the links below to take you to questions and answers on that topic.

> Estate Planning
> Powers of Attorney
> Probate
> Guardianship and Conservatorships

> Wills and Trusts
> Financing Long term Care
> Health Care Directive

Estate Planning

Q. Isn't estate planning only for the wealthy?

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Q. I made an estate plan several years ago. Do I need to do anything else?

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Q. What if I die without a Will?

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Q. Why is it advantageous to avoid probate?

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Q. Do I need a Will if my spouse and I own everything jointly?

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Q. What is a personal representative?

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Powers of Attorney

Q. Are there different types of Powers of Attorney?

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Q. When does a Power of Attorney end?

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Q. What legal authority does a Power of Attorney grant?

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Q. Can a Power of Attorney grant authority to make medical decisions on my behalf?

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Q. How should I select an attorney-in-fact for a Power of Attorney?

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Q. Can I appoint more than one attorney-in-fact?

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Q. Once I sign Power of Attorney, may I continue to make legal and financial decisions for myself?

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Q. What are the attorney-in-fact's obligations to me?

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Q. Who monitors the actions of my attorney-in-fact?

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Q. What happens if I become incompetent and have not prepared a Power of Attorney?

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Q. Can my attorney-in-fact use the Power of Attorney to handle my social security benefits and to file and pay taxes?

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Probate

Q. What types of assets must be probated?

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Q. Does having a Will mean that your estate does not have to go through probate?

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Q. Is there a procedure for dealing with a very small estate?

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Q. How will the estate be distributed?

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Q. Are there ways to avoid probate and should I consider that?

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Guardianship and Conservatorships

Q. What powers does a conservator or guardian have?

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Q. How is a Power of Attorney different from a conservatorship?

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Q. How is a guardianship or conservatorship established?

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Q. Can a guardianship/conservatorship be ended?

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Wills and Trusts

Q. What is a Will?

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Q. What if I die without a Will?

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Q. What will happen to my minor children?

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Q. Will I avoid probate if I have a Will?

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Q. What is a Trust?

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Q. What are the basic kinds of Trusts?

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Q. What about people who are living together but not married?

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Financing Long-term Care

Q. Will Medicare pay for a nursing home stay?

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Q. Is eligibility for the veterans home the same as for Medical Assistance?

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Q. I know I should have seen an elder law attorney earlier. Now that my spouse is being placed in a nursing home, is it too late to do some planning that will be effective in helping me manage this financial crisis?

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Q. I have heard that if my spouse receives Medical Assistance benefits to help pay for nursing home care, the State may take my house and all my spouse's income will be used to pay a portion of the nursing home bill. How will I be able to survive?

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Q. Is it possible to receive Medical Assistance benefits for long-term care received at home? Must you be over age 65 to receive such benefits?

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Q. I am considering making some major gifts to my children. Are there any estate planning consequences that I should be aware of?

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Health Care Directive

Q. Do I need an attorney to prepare a Health Care Directive?

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Q. I have a power of Attorney. Doesn't that cover health care decisions?

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