By: Matthew H. Fry, Esquire
Several years ago, I began volunteering for Wills for Heroes, a non-profit organization that provides free basic estate plans to military veterans, police, firefighters, correction officers and first responders. Wills for Heroes was formed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, in response to a staggering statistic that over 90% of police, firefighters and first responders who died as a result of those attacks did not have an estate plan.
These tremendously courageous men and women put their lives on the line every day for us, and I am proud and happy to be able to help them in any way I can. And while my job and that of many others do not involve the level of danger and risk that these heroes face every day, the importance of having an estate plan is essential to everyone and will give you and your family peace of mind in the midst of tragedy.
Here’s what you need to know. A basic estate plan consists of a will, a power of attorney, and a living will.
A will not only distributes your property after death, but it also appoints a trusted the person to handle your estate on your behalf and can be used to designate a guardian for your minor children. Without a will, state law will control who is entitled to inherit your assets and care for your minor children.
While you’re alive, a power of attorney is quite helpful to assist with legal and financial issues if you become incapacitated, as it gives someone you trust your authority to act for you in specified or all legal or financial matters.
Also while you’re alive, a living will, also known as an advanced health care declaration, instructs health care providers as to your choices regarding your medical care if you are unable to communicate, and are in a state of permanent unconsciousness or are close to death. It also allows you to decide now whether to be taken off life support rather than leaving that decision to grieving family members.
If you believe you qualify for a free basic estate plan, please go to willsforheroes.org and find an upcoming event at a location near you. If you need an estate plan and do not qualify for Wills for Heroes, the attorneys at the Law Firm of DiOrio & Sereni, LLP can help. Please contact Matthew Fry, Esquire at 610-565-5700 or email me at [email protected].
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