September 4, 2012
Dear Liza: My dad recently passed away and he and my mom had no will. I am the only child and we have had all the bank accounts changed to my moms name and me as beneficiary but I don’t really know where else or what else (will or power of attorney) I should get. Now that your mother’s just got you to take care of her if she gets sick, you should absolutely get her to sign a Durable Power of Attorney for Property and an Advance Health Care Directive. Both documents can name you as her Agent, the person who can pay her bills or make medical decisions if she’s unable to do so. You said that she’s healthy now, and that’s great, but all of us get sick now and then and accidents do happen. A Will is also a good idea, since that will make it easier for her to leave you her assets without your having to go through probate. (When one spouse dies, probate’s not usually necessary.) All of these documents can be done inexpensively at www.nolo.com. Here’s the link to the Durable Powers of Attorney forms.