What is in Your Legal Toolkit?

Cindy J. Ackerman
News from Divorcing Divas

When I moved into my own home, I bought a toolkit. I fervently hoped I would never need to use it, but it was ready if I needed it. I have also assembled a legal toolkit that I fervently hope I never need, but it is ready if I need it. The following are legal tools that you may need in your legal toolkit:

Health Care Directive – If you are unable to make or communicate your health care decisions, your family may not receive the information they need to provide for your care. In a Health Care Directive, you may appoint an agent to receive information and make health care decisions on your behalf whenever you are unable to make or communicate your wishes. In this document, you may state your wishes concerning the type of medical care you wish to receive in a terminal condition. Health care providers are required to follow the directions that you provide in a Health Care Directive.

Power of Attorney – If you become incapacitated, managing your finances, including something as simple as paying a bill, may require court involvement. To avoid court involvement, you may appoint an agent in a Power of Attorney to receive information regarding your accounts and transact business for you whenever are you unable to manage your finances.

Last Will and Testament (“Will”) – Assets in your name alone will be distributed upon your death as directed under Minnesota law unless you have a Will. A Will allows you to control how your assets are distributed upon your death.  

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