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Frequently Asked Law Procedure Questions

Personal Injury Law Questions

Business and Corporate Law Questions

Real Estate Law Questions

Divorce Law Questions

Estate Planning Questions

Probate Law Questions

PERSONAL INJURY & ACCIDENTS: Legal Process of Personal Injury Accidents

Q: Should I hire an attorney?
A: If you have suffered a minor injury that has not resulted in substantial medical bills, loss of wages and no permanent effects, you may want to attempt to settle a claim on your own. If you cannot resolve the case with the insurance claims adjuster, currently, Wisconsin Small Claims Jurisdiction handles claims up to $10,000.00. Most insurance companies, however, will attempt to settle the claim in a manner most favorable to the insurance company. If you have suffered serious injuries, incurred significant medical bills, suffered substantial wage loss or have been left with permanent effects from the accident, you should definitely consult an attorney before you discuss this case with any insurance company. An experienced personal injury attorney should be able to discuss with you the respective fault for the cause of your injuries, how you seek compensation for these injuries, the nature of compensation that you are entitled and the entire personal injury claim process from start to finish.

Most personal injury attorneys typically handle these types of claims on a contingent fee basis. This means that the attorney does not receive any compensation unless there is a recovery in your case. However, contingent fee agreements do require that the attorney be reimbursed for any money the attorney advances in the pursuit of your case whether there is a recovery or not. Any contingent fee arrangement should be in writing and include the provisions for the expenses and fees to be paid to the attorney.

Q: For what type of accidents or injuries should I seek compensation?
A. For someone to seek compensation for an injury, the other person or business must be more at fault for causing your injury than you are. The type of the accident and the cause of the accident may affect whether you are entitled to compensation. The following are more typical examples of accidents for which you may be entitled to compensation if the other person is more at fault:

-Motor vehicle accidents
-Accidents occurring at retail stores or commercial establishments
-Accidents occurring at a home or a farm
-Accidents occurring at apartment buildings
-Workplace injuries
-Accidents caused by government employees or occurring on government property
-Accidents caused by intentional conduct of another party such as assault and battery
-Injuries caused by dog bites

Q: Will the insurance company of the person at fault cover my medical bills and compensate me for my injuries?
A. Most individuals or businesses carry automobile, homeowners and commercial liability policies which will cover medical payments for medical expenses that you incur as a result of the accident. To pursue a claim for liability against an insurance company, you must show that the other person was more at fault than you were. Once you establish liability on the other party, that party’s insurance company would be responsible for all or part of the damages for which you are entitled to compensation. If the driver of the motor vehicle has no or inadequate insurance, you may be able to seek recovery against your own insurance company if you have underinsured motorist or uninsured motorist coverage. If the person or business that caused the injury does not have adequate insurance coverage, you may have to pursue a claim against the person individually and/or the business directly.

Q: What is the value of my claim?
A: The value of a person’s claim depends on numerous factors, including the amount of your medical bills, the nature of your injury, future treatment, permanency, scarring and loss of wages. Typically, when an attorney presents a settlement demand to the insurance company, the attorney will itemize for the insurance company the damages in the following areas:

-Past medical bills
-Future medical bills
-Past pain, suffering and inconvenience
-Future pain, suffering and inconvenience (especially if there are future medical treatments such as surgery and a recovery period)
-Permanency from scarring or based on a permanency rating from a doctor concerning loss of all or part of your body
-Loss of wages
Q: Do all personal injury claims result in going to court and a trial?
A: The vast majority of personal injury claims can be settled without the necessity of a trial. During the initial phase, once an injured person is released from his or her doctor a claim is made by the injured party against the insurance company of the party at fault. If the case cannot be resolved during the course of these negotiations, then a lawsuit is filed where the injured party sues the party at fault and that party’s insurance company. During the course of the court proceedings, the parties usually obtain information about the respective positions of the parties involved in the lawsuit before a trial. A settlement conference is typically had in the form of mediation. During the mediation, a court- appointed third-party mediator meets with the parties and their attorneys to determine whether or not a settlement can be reached. In approximately seventy-five percent (75%) of the cases that are submitted to mediation, there is a successful settlement. Those cases that cannot be settled then proceed to a trial. Typically, a personal injury case is tried to a jury. The jury panel then decides the fault of the respective parties and the compensation due to the injured party.


STARTING A BUSINESS: Legal process of setting up a new business

Q: How should I organize my new business?
A: Choosing the form of legal organization for your business is important as it may have liability, tax and other implications for the owner. There are four basic types of business organizations: (1) Sole proprietorships; (2) Partnerships; (3) Limited Liability Companies; and (4) Corporations. The important features that a business owner should consider when establishing a new entity are liability protection and proper tax treatment. Not all business organizations offer liability protection for the owner. Some business organizations are taxed as a separate entity, some are not. A lawyer can help you determine which type of business organization is best for your particular situation and business. An attorney can also help you draft the appropriate agreements that will help you own, manage and operate your business.

Q: What is a sole proprietorship?
A. A sole proprietorship is a business with one owner that makes the management decisions. The owner and the business are one in the same. It is the simplest form of business. There are almost no legal formalities to forming a sole proprietorship. If the sole owner has no employees, the owner can use his or her social security number as the business identification number. If the sole proprietor has employees, the IRS does require the sole proprietor to obtain an employer identification number from the IRS. It is important to note that a sole proprietor is not a separate legal entity and therefore offers no liability protection for the owner. The owner is responsible for all business debts and obligations. It is extremely important that a sole proprietor has more than adequate liability insurance to protect the sole owner’s personal assets from many business creditors or liabilities.

Q: What is a partnership?
A. A partnership is basically an association of two or more persons as co-owners who carry on a business for profit. There are basically three types of partnerships: (1) a general partnership; (2) a limited partnership; and (3) a limited liability partnership.

In a general partnership, each partner has an equal voice in managing the business. Each partner can buy in the partnership and the other partners. A written partnership agreement is an important agreement because it can set forth partners’ rights and duties in running the general partnership.

There are two types of partners in a limited partnership. There is a general partner and
limited partners. General partners manage the business and have the authority to bind in the partnership. Limited partners are usually investors. Limited partners have very limited ability to manage partnership affairs. Typically, limited partners are not responsible for the debts or obligations of the partnership over and above their initial contribution to the partnership. To form a limited partnership, a written document must be filed with a fee paid to the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.

A limited liability partnership is a form of a general partner with some modification. Again, a registration statement must be filed with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions and fees paid to register a limited liability partnership.

Q: What is a corporation?
A: A corporation is a legal entity that is separate from its owners. It receives its legal existence from authority granted by the State. A corporation is formed by filing Articles of Incorporation with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. Once the corporation is formed, stockholders contribute money, property or service to the corporation and in return, they receive a stock certificate representing their respective ownerships in the corporation. The stockholders elect a board of directors which is responsible for providing the corporation’s long-term affairs. The board of directors also elects officers who run the corporation on a day-to-day basis. The stockholders, directors and officers do not have to be, but often times are, the same people. The corporation must observe certain formalities that are not required by a sole proprietorship or partnership. It must keep annual records of meetings and documentation of any major decisions made on behalf of the corporation.

Stockholders, officers and directors are generally not personally liable for the corporation’s debts and obligations unless they are required to personally guaranty bank loans or other obligations. If the corporation fails to deposit withholding taxes, the officers and directors may be liable for the withholding of the tax.

Q: What is a limited liability company?
A: A limited liability company (“LLC”) is a distinct legal entity. An LLC is not a corporation, but nevertheless, provides its owners with the same liability protection of a corporation. An LLC is created by filing Articles of Organization with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. Instead of stock certificates, owners of an LLC receive a certificate of interest or units in the LLC. The owners usually enter into an Operating Agreement which defines the rights, duties and responsibilities of the owners. You do not have to be an owner to run an LLC. An owner that helps to operate an LLC is known as a manager. The LLC members and managers who join a limited liability company are not liable for the debts and obligations of the business unless they guaranty these obligations or fail to pay withholding taxes.

REAL ESTATE: Process of buying and selling real estate

Q: What is the general process of buying and selling residential or commercial real estate?
A: The process of buying and selling residential or commercial real estate consists of multiple steps that could take weeks, even months, to complete. The first step is to typically draft and negotiate an Offer to Purchase Sale contract between a buyer and a seller. Once the contract is accepted and signed by both parties, the buyer then typically takes the contract to the buyer's lender and attempts to obtain financing for this transaction. In addition, once there is an Accepted Offer, the buyer usually commences the inspection process of the property, which includes, but is not limited to a physical inspection of the building and the mechanical systems within the building, an environmental site assessment if it is a commercial property and a sewer and water test if there are not municipal services to the property. Once the buyer has obtained financing for the sale and the inspection process is complete, the seller typically provides a Title Insurance Commitment to the buyer and the buyer's lender showing the condition of title and that the seller has good title to convey. Once the parties are satisfied with the Title Insurance Commitment, then the matter is set for a closing which is typically handled by the seller's attorney, lender and/or the seller's title insurance company.

Q: How can an attorney assist a buyer in purchasing residential or commercial real estate?
A: An attorney can assist a buyer in purchasing residential or commercial real estate in the following aspects:

- Review and advise the buyer about dealing with the real estate, sales agent and any agency agreements associated therewith.
- Draft or review the buyer's Offer to Purchase Contract and negotiate any Counter Offers or Amendments to the Offer to Purchase Contract.
- Assist in evaluating financing issues which may arise with a lender.
- Review the Title Insurance Commitment provided by seller to insure that the property
has clear and marketable title.
- Answer questions and resolve problems during the course of the transaction dealing with financing, inspection issues and closing issues.
- Review closing documents provided by seller and buyer's lender.
- Represent you and participate at the closing.

Q: How can an attorney assist a seller in selling residential or commercial real estate?
A: An attorney can assist a seller in selling residential or commercial real estate in the following aspects:

- Write or review any Listing Contract involved with the real estate sales agent.
- Review an Offer to Purchase Contract submitted by buyer to seller.
- Negotiate and draft any Counteroffers or Amendments to the Offer to Purchase Contract.
- Help satisfy any contingencies to the Offer to Purchase Contract.
- Draft the deed, closing statement, transfer tax return and any other legal documents required to close the transaction.
- Advise the seller at closing to insure that all closing documents, including financial
arrangements and others, are in proper order.
- Handle any legal conflicts or questions that may arise at any point during the course of negotiation or closing.
- Advise seller of any tax consequences of the sale of real estate.

Q: What is an Offer to Purchase?
A: The Offer to Purchase creates the legal contract between the buyer and the seller. It states the price the buyer is to pay for the property, the date of closing, terms of buyer's financing, terms of buyer's inspection of the property, earnest money and other important terms of the transaction. Real estate agents are required to use State approved forms for Offers. Once the buyer submits the Offer to the seller, the seller can respond to the buyer's Offer by rejecting it, accepting or making a Counteroffer which presents different terms for the sale. The buyer and seller may go back and forth with Counteroffers before the terms of the transaction are resolved. When the buyer and seller sign the contract, it becomes a legally binding contract subject to satisfying any contingencies stated in the contract. It is critical that the contract be complete and legally enforceable. It is important to have your attorney review the Offer, Counteroffer or any Amendment prior to signing it to protect the buyer/seller's interest.

Q: What happens at that closing?
A: When all of the contingencies are met and Amendments are signed, the transaction proceeds to a closing. The Offer sets forth the date that the closing will occur. It is wise to have an attorney present at closing to explain the documents and answer any questions that may arise. At the time of closing, the buyer typically signs the buyer's financing documents provided by the lender. The buyer also signs miscellaneous closing documents provided by the seller. The seller typically provides a closing statement, a deed, transfer tax return and other documents for the buyer to sign. After the closing, the deed is recorded in the Register of Deeds Office where the property is located. The deed transfers ownership from seller to buyer. Once the deed is properly recorded, it is returned to the buyer for safekeeping.

Q: What is Title Insurance and why does a buyer need it?
A: When you buy a property, you need to be sure that the seller can transfer good title to the property. The seller typically provides the buyer with title insurance which protects the buyer against defects in the seller's title. The title insurance company checks various records and issues a Title Insurance Commitment that gives information about the title. This information includes whether there are any liens against the property such as unpaid mortgages, judgment liens against the seller, mechanic liens against the seller, tax liens against the seller and unpaid real estate taxes. The Title Insurance Commitment is an important and complex legal document that requires legal expertise to understand. It is important to have a lawyer review the Title Insurance Commitment prior to closing to prevent any problems concerning the buyer's ownership in the future.

Legal procedure for getting a divorce in Wisconsin

Q:  How does a spouse commence a divorce action?
A: A divorce is usually commenced by the filing of a summons and petition.  The petition for divorce sets forth the factual history of the marriage and the specific request for relief such as property division, custody of children, child support and/or maintenance.  The summons and petition are served upon the other spouse.  The other spouse has twenty (20) days to respond.  Once the summons and petition are filed, either party can request temporary orders which are orders that the Court issues laying out general ground rules while the divorce proceeding is pending.  If temporary orders are requested by either spouse, additional documents must be filed.  An affidavit for temporary relief requests temporary arrangements for child custody, placement or support as well as any other needed provision.  The order to show cause contains the time and date of the hearing before the family Court Commissioner or Judge who establishes the temporary orders.  

Q:  How long must I live in Wisconsin before filing for a divorce?
A. You must establish a Wisconsin residence for at least six (6) months before filing for a divorce in this state.  Also, you must have lived in the county where you filed the divorce petition for at least thirty (30) days prior thereto. 

Q:  How long does it typically take to get divorced?
A. In any divorce proceeding, the parties must wait at least one-hundred and twenty (120) days from the filing of the divorce petition before they can get divorced.  However, most divorces take longer than four (4) months, particularly if there are other issues that need to be resolved such as child custody, child placement, child support, property division and/or maintenance.  A divorce does not become finalized until there is a final hearing and a judgment of divorce entered by the Court.  Once the divorce is final, both parties must wait at least six (6) months before marrying other people. 

Q:  How are child custody and physical placement issues decided by the Court?
A: The term "custody" generally refers to the right of the parent to make legal decisions regarding his or her child including religious upbringing, medical care and where the child attends school.  The Court presumes that joint legal custody is in the child’s best interest, which gives both parents the decision-making authority over the child.  It is only where there is evidence, such as spousal abuse or other wrongdoing on behalf of a spouse, that joint legal custody is not appropriate.  Physical placement refers to how much time a child spends with each parent.  It is better for both parents to work out their own child custody and placement arrangement either prior to or during the divorce proceeding.  This has a less traumatic effect on the child.  If married couples have problems agreeing on custody and/or placement, the Court usually requests that spouses seek counseling.  If this does not work, the Court usually determines what is in the child’s best interest regarding these issues.  If there is a custody and placement issue, the Court usually appoints an independent attorney as a Guardian at Litem to investigate the matter and make a recommendation to the Court as to the appropriateness of custody and/or placement with one or either parent. 

Q:  How does the Court determine child support payments?
A: If a parent has physical placement with the child less than twenty-five percent (25%) of the time, the Court usually bases child support on a percentage of that parent’s gross income.  The standard support percentages are:

% of Gross Income                             Number of Children

            17%                                                     One
            25%                                                     Two
            29%                                                     Three
            31%                                                     Four
            34%                                                     Five or more
The above percentages are only guidelines for the Court and the Court can adjust such
support upward or downward depending on the fairness in a particular case. 

If each parent has at least twenty-five percent (25%) physical placement with the child, each parent’s gross income is considered in setting up child support.  There is a more complex analysis performed by the Court when determining the appropriateness of child support when either parent has more than twenty-five percent (25%) physical placement.

Q:  What is maintenance or alimony?
A: Maintenance (alimony) is money that one spouse pays to the other during or after a divorce proceeding.  Maintenance is different than child support. Maintenance and child support are treated differently for tax purposes. The parent paying child support cannot deduct it on his or her income tax return and the parent receiving child support does not report it as income.  However, just the opposite is true for maintenance.  The person paying maintenance can deduct it on their taxes and the person receiving maintenance must report it. 

Q:  How does a Court decide how and when to award maintenance?
A. If the parties cannot agree on how much maintenance is appropriate in an individual case, the Court will decide the issue of maintenance and consider the following factors:

1.         The length of the marriage
2.         The spouse’s age and physical and emotional health of each
3.         How the property of the marriage was divided
4.         Each spouse’s educational level
5.         Each spouse’s earning capacity in occupational endeavors
6.         The tax consequences to each
7.         One spouse’s contribution to the education, training or increased earning power of the other
8.         Any other factor that the Court finds relevant

Q:  How does the court decide to divide the property between the spouses?
A. Just about all of the property in a marriage will be divided. Certain gifts such as an inherited property may be excluded under certain circumstances.  If the parties cannot agree on how to divide up the assets of a marriage, then the Court decides.  The general starting point for the Court is that there should be an equal division of all assets, but the Court may alter this by considering the following:

1.         The length of the marriage
2.         The property owned by either spouse when they married
3.         Whether one spouse has substantial assets the Court cannot divide
4.         Each Spouse’s respective contribution to the marriage
5.         Each spouse’s age and physical and emotional heath
6.         One spouse’s contribution to the increased earning power of the other
7.         Each spouse’s earning capacity
8.         Tax consequences
9.         The desire and ability of awarding the family home to the parent who has primary placement of the child
10.       Any other factors that the Court deems relevant        


Legal procedures for probate in Wisconsin

Q:  What is Probate?
Probate is a court-supervised procedure for transferring ownership of one’s assets after the person dies.  If the deceased person leaves a will, the property is distributed pursuant to the terms of the decedent’s will.  If the decedent did not leave a will and no other legal arrangements for the transfer of the decedent’s property have been made, the estate would still go through probate and the assets would then pass pursuant to the intestate laws in the State of Wisconsin.  The overall goal of probate is to protect the rights of the heirs and other beneficiaries and to insure that the transfer of assets and payment of bills of the decedent are properly made.  The probate court can also become involved in claims of creditors and any conflicts between beneficiaries.

Q:  What is involved in the probate process?
A: Generally, a will names a personal representative who is responsible for administering the estate of the decedent.  A personal representative (also known as an executor) is usually a spouse, family member or friend.  If there is no will or the will does not designate a personal representative, then the court appoints a personal representative.  The personal representative’s main duties are to administer and manage the assets of the decedent during the probate process, determine the rights of the spouse and other beneficiaries, pay debts, claims, taxes and administrative expenses and to distribute the assets of the estate to the rightful heirs.

Q:  Should I hire an attorney to handle probate?
A: It is the personal representative’s decision to hire an attorney.  A personal representative may desire to have an attorney assist in the complications of the probate process.  The personal representative need not hire the attorney who drafted the will.  The personal representative is free to hire an attorney of his or her choice.  An attorney can provide valuable assistance to a personal representative in both a formal probate proceeding and an informal probate proceeding.  An attorney can streamline the probate process, the forms, the filing of the necessary tax returns and the distribution of the assets to the rightful heirs.  

Q:  What assets can bypass probate?
A: Probate is unnecessary if the property solely owned by the decedent totals less than $50,000.00 in value.  There is a special form known as a “Transfer by Affidavit” which can be utilized to transfer those solely held assets of the decedent that are less than $50,000.00 in value.  In addition, any property titled in joint ownership is exempt from probate, as it automatically passes to the surviving owner.  Any life insurance payments, IRA distributions, pensions, 401K or any other retirement plans can bypass probate if the decedent has named a specific beneficiary other than his or her estate.  Any funds from these accounts would pass directly to the named beneficiary and do not need any court supervision.  Any other accounts that have a named beneficiary would also bypass probate, as named beneficiaries control over a will or any other form of distribution. Also, typically the assets titled in the name of a trust are exempt from probate and pass directly to the trust beneficiaries. 

Q:  How much does probate cost?
A: The cost of a probate procedure can vary from estate to estate.  However, the basic costs include court costs, probate bond, personal representative fees and attorney fees.  Most of these expenses are paid out of the estate assets.  There is an inventory filing fee which is based upon the value of the estate’s assets.  Attorney fees are typically paid on a hourly basis.  The personal representative has the right to be reimbursed for any costs advanced by the personal representative in the payment of the estate expenses.  In addition, the personal representative is entitled to charge up to 2% of the gross inventory value of the estate.

Q:  How long does probate take?
AThe length of a probate proceeding can vary from estate to estate.  The more complicated estates and the contested estates take longer.  Even for small and uncomplicated estates, the procedure might last up to six (6) months.  During the pendency of an estate, creditors   are given approximately three (3) months to file claims against the estate.  The personal representative must file all outstanding income tax returns for the decedent as well as any income tax returns for any income earned by the estate after the decedent’s death.  If the estate is large enough, the personal representative may also have to file an estate tax return, which is a tax imposed on the value of assets in the estate.  After the appropriate tax returns are filed, the personal representative must first wait for a tax clearance letter from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue in order to close the estate.  Generally, state law requires that an estate be closed within eighteen (18) months.  If the personal representative needs a longer time, he or she must seek court approval to extend the time to close the estate.  Often times, personal representatives wait until the estate is closed to make a full and final distribution of all assets.  However, a personal representative can make partial distributions before the estate is fully closed once the creditors’ claim period has expired.

Legal procedures for Estate Planning in Wisconsin

Q: What is a Will?
A: A will is a written document that allows you to accomplish the following:
1) designate who will receive your estate after you die
2) appoint a guardian for your minor children at the time of your death
3) determine whether there will be any postponement of distribution to
beneficiaries, particularly if the beneficiaries are minors
4) determine who will serve as your personal representative to be in charge
of your estate

The best time to consider preparing a will is once you acquire assets and is particularly important if an individual has minor children. Under a will, as set forth above, you can name a guardian for your minor children and postpone the distribution of your estate to your children at a specific age or ages in a trust within the will itself.

If you should happen to die without a will and your estate needs to be probated, the court would appoint a personal representative to administer your estate. Without a written will, the court is required to appoint a bond. A bond is a surety or an insurance policy which insures the estate against any theft, embezzlement or mismanagement of estate assets by the personal representative. A bond can be expensive. Therefore, one advantage in creating a will is to waive the bond requirement, which would save the estate some money.

Q: How do you make a will legal?
A:For a will to be valid it must be in writing, and must be signed and dated by the person making it. The one making the will must sign the will in the presence of two (2) witnesses, and the two witnesses must sign in the presence of each other and the one making the will. Witnesses should not be beneficiaries named in the will or heirs that are designated by law. A person can write his or her own will providing it complies with the statutory requirements. It is important that you consult an attorney who can give advice not only about the proper drafting of the will but other aspects of your estate planning.

Q: When can a will be challenged?
A: A person can attempt to challenge a will in court by showing:
1) the one making the will was under duress or undo influence at the time the will
was made
2) the one making the will was incompetent or unable to understand the terms
and conditions of the will itself
3) the will does not meet the valid requirements above regarding signatures

Q: Where should I keep my Will?
A:A will should always be kept in a safe environment free from theft, fire or other damage. Some people keep their wills in a safety deposit box, however a personal representative may have limited access to the safety deposit box.

Q: What is a Living Trust?
A: A living trust is a written agreement drafted to control the distribution of your property while you are alive and then the control of your property after your death. Upon creation of a trust document, your assets are then retitled into the name of the trust itself. As part of the trust document, you name trustees who will manage the affairs of your trust during your lifetime and who will take over upon your death. Usually the owner of the assets placing the assets into the trust is the initial trustee. Upon the death of the one creating the trust, the assets pass pursuant to the terms and conditions of the trust to the designated beneficiaries. Under this system, there is no need to probate one’s estate if the trust is properly drafted. A will is typically used along with a trust in the event there are trust assets that were inadvertently not transferred into the name of the trust. The will would then provide that all such assets be transferred pursuant to the terms and conditions of the trust. Under the terms of the will, you could also name a guardian for your minor children.

Q: What is a Durable Power of Attorney?
A: There are basically two types of powers of attorney in Wisconsin. One is a financial power of attorney and the other is a healthcare power of attorney. Under the terms of a financial durable power of attorney, you authorize a person to act on your behalf in financial matters. This person is called your power of attorney or agent. The exact nature of the agent’s duties depends upon the terms of the financial power of attorney. Generally speaking, a financial power of attorney has authority to sign legal documents, pay bills, buy and sell real estate and to basically take other actions on your behalf. The authority of a financial power of attorney ends at your death. Thereafter, either the personal representative or trustee will take over your estate.

Under a durable power of attorney for healthcare, you give your agent the authority to make healthcare decisions if you are unable to so make them. Under a healthcare power of attorney, you can designate what is known as a living will. Under a living will, you are allowed to state in writing what preferences you have about life-prolonging medical treatment. Under a living will, you are able to authorize the withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining procedures, particularly if you have a terminal condition or you are in a persistent vegetative state.

Financial and healthcare powers of attorney are important estate planning documents to have. Without them, if you should become either mentally or physically incapable of taking care of your affairs, you would be required to go to court to have a guardian appointed for you to make such decisions. A guardianship proceeding can be costly, as it may involve the input of physicians and psychiatrists to verify that you are unable to take care of your personal affairs and are in need of a power of attorney. This procedure requires court supervision and a guardian is required to file an annual guardianship account with the court.

A “durable” power of attorney means that if the person who originally makes the power of attorney later becomes mentally or physically disabled, the power of attorney still remains in effect, despite the disability.

Law Practice Areas

Personal Injury Law
Estate Planning
Real Estate Law
Family Law
Divorce Law
Criminal Law and Traffic Law
Probate Law
Business and Corporate Law
Computer and Internet Law

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