What Is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document that appoints an individual (referred to as an agent) to make decisions, often financially or medically related, on the behalf of another individual (referred to as the principal). 

Can a Power of Attorney Change a Will?

No, a power of attorney does not have the ability to modify a valid will. 

What Can a Power of Attorney Do?

Ultimately, the individual that creates the power of attorney will decide the parameters of the agent’s authority when it comes to decision making. For a financial power of attorney, they may be accountable for filing taxes, paying bills, or managing investments, assets, property, and bank accounts. While a medical power of attorney would be responsible for health-related decisions. 

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Additional Estate Planning FAQs

What Is a Living Will?

A living will is a legal document that details instructions regarding end-of-life medical care. This may include preferences on palliative care, ventilators, pain management, medication, and the like.

What Is a Last Will and Testament?

A last will and testament is a legally binding document designating how an individual wants their assets and property handled, as well as guardianship of any minor children, upon their death. 

Do I Need to Update My Will If I Move?

It’s best to update your will following any major life change, including moving to a new state. As some state laws may vary, you’ll want to ensure your will is up-to-date and in accordance with your new state of residence.

What Assets Should Be Included in a Will?

  • Property owned, such as a home and other real estate or land
  • Personal property, such as family heirlooms, vehicles, home furnishings, artwork, etc.
  • Financial accounts and investments, such as stocks, bonds, checking accounts, and savings accounts
  • Any debt owed from credit cards, mortgages, or unresolved loans 

What Is a Living Trust?

A living trust is an active trust an individual can create when they are alive, which can house their assets.

What Is a Testamentary Trust?

A testamentary trust aligns with the instructions provided in an individual’s will, which names beneficiaries and the designation of assets upon passing.

Can a Trustee Remove a Beneficiary from a Trust?

In general, a trustee is not able to remove a beneficiary from an irrevocable trust. In contrast, since revocable trusts are able to be modified, a beneficiary could be changed or removed. 

What Should You Not Put in a Living Trust?

Certain items that you should avoid putting in a trust may include: 401ks, IRAs, and other retirement funds, life insurance, cars, or health and medical savings accounts.

Do You Need a Will If You Have a Trust?

It’s recommended that you create a will even if you already have a trust. This is because a trust typically won’t include all your property and assets. Additionally, if you have children, you will need a will to designate guardianship. 

Does a Revocable Trust Protect Assets from Creditors?

No, revocable trusts will not protect assets from creditor, as the trust is active while an individual is alive and subject to change. An irrevocable trust, however, can protect your assets from creditors. 

What Happens If You Don’t Have an Advance Directive?

In the event that you don’t have an advance directive and become incapacitated, decisions regarding your medical care may not be aligned with your wishes. 

Do Advance Directives Expire?

No, advance directives don’t expire. It will remain in effect unless you cancel it. You are also able to modify your advance directive.

How Often Should Advance Directives Be Updated?

The Mayo Clinic recommends updating it roughly every 10 years. However, it’s typically best to update your advance directive following any major life events to ensure it is up to date with your wishes.

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What Makes Abrell Law Different?

  1. 1
    Extensive Experience in Law
    Prior to opening up his own firm, Justin had years of legal experience working in the Prosecutor's office in Honolulu and as corporate counsel for a private business. This wide variety of settings help provide perspective on creative solutions to legal obstacles.
  2. 2
    Culture of Compassion & Transparency
    We take your legal matter seriously. Until we resolve your case, you can expect us to listen to your needs and honestly provide solutions that are always in your best interests.
  3. 3
    Direct Access to Your Attorney
    You won't be passed off to legal staff at any point when you work with Abrell Law. From the very beginning, you will speak with Justin so he can have a good understanding of your unique case.
  4. 4
    Over Two Decades in Hawaii
    With over 20 years living in Hawaii, serving the local community and fostering meaningful relationships is one of Justin's top priorities.
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