Do I need a will for when I pass away? 4 Answers as of March 22, 2011

I am a married man in Maine with health problems: the only property I own I own jointly with my wife. If something goes wrong does my wife need power of attorney to make medical decisions? Do I need a will or will my wife still get everything we jointly own?

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Burnham & Associates
Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
It is always a good idea to have a Will. A Will is a good tool for determining any last wishes you may have, to appoint a Guardian for Minor Children, and to be clear about who you would like to administer your estate. All property that you own Jointly with your wife, will not require Probate in order for your Wife to use them. As such, you will not need a Will for those items. A Power of Attorney for Health Care is VERY important to allow medical decisions to be made if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. A Power of Attorney for Health Care will authorize someone to make all medical decisions for you including determination of whether or not to have you remain on life support. You also should consider whether or not you would like a Living Will which states whether or not you would like life support if you are terminally ill or permanently unconscious.
Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
Replied: 3/22/2011
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
I don't practice in Maine, so please confirm this with a Maine attorney. However, my sense of it is you probably don't need a Will if you only have a wife and no children and you want everything to go to her. As for what to do about health care decisions, that may be a different story since each state varies on that as well. My thought is that you may need a health care proxy giving her the ability to make decisions for your health care in the event you are unable to make such decisions due to medical problems. Otherwse, she will automatically get everything you own jointly, otherwise known as "Tenants by the Entirety." One last thing. I always suggest having a Will so you can personally decide what goes to where or whom, however, if you've described everything fully in your question, then you may not need one. Good luck with your medial condition.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 3/21/2011
Mercado & Hartung
Mercado & Hartung | Stephanie Hartung
It is always best to have your wishes stated in a legal valid will. Also both of you should execute powers of attorney. It is not always a pleasant thing to think about, but it makes things easier if taken care beforehand.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 3/18/2011
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