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Alkalay & Smillie, PLLC

in Mt. Washington Valley, New Hampshire

Office: (603) 447-8994
Fax: (603) 297-2866

Articles of Interest

Attorney Edward Alkalay writes a regular column for the Conway Daily Sun newspaper entitled "The Legal Corner." His articles address a wide variety of timely legal issues. Click on the titles below to review his past articles.

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The Legal Corner: It’s cold outside, why not make a will?

February 11, 2009

In the midst of another cold New Hampshire winter and the worst economic crisis in many years, what better time is there than the present to think about making your will? Over the past three years, I have written about the importance of planning for the future several times; in fact my first article for this column involved estate planning. So, I thought that a reprise of that first article would be appropriate. Why is making a will so important? Because it is easy, takes little time, is generally reasonably priced, and provides security for you and your loved ones.

I know that making a will is not a pleasant thought for many, as who wants to plan for a time when you will not be around? But so many unpleasant results can happen to a spouse, children or extended family when a person dies intestate (without a will), that it is imperative to plan for that eventuality. If you do not make a will, state law may determine who gets your money and your property. Relatives may have disputes over what your intentions were. It is especially important for parents with young children to engage in estate planning. Without a will, a court may decide who will raise your children.

Fortunately, in the great majority of cases, estate planning is a relatively inexpensive and straight forward process. Most people will need fairly standard documents -- a will, a power of attorney, a living will, and a health care power of attorney. (Of course, if you have a large estate, more involved planning may be necessary.) A simple will functions to divide your property, including money, land, and personal items, to those that you wish to have them. A power of attorney generally will grant the authority to another to make financial decisions for you in the event that you are unable to make them for yourself. A health care power of attorney/living will/HIPPA designation enables you to appoint another to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so, provides access to your health records and allows you to determine in advance how you will be treated under specific circumstances when you may be unable to do so in the future.

The safest route to estate planning is to talk to an attorney. However, even if you cannot afford an attorney, you should still engage in estate planning. There are many viable (and free) options available to pursue estate planning. A research trip to the library or a book store may help you get started. There are many good books involving the drafting of wills and estate planning documents. Additionally, these days there are many valuable resources online to help individuals who cannot otherwise afford to pay for legal services. One word of caution – different states have different laws. Consequently, if you use a book or online resource, be sure that it takes into consideration New Hampshire laws.

Estate planning is not something that anyone looks forward to. However, some simple planning at present may help you and your loved ones avoid stress, anxiety and painful disputes in the future. Remember, the best time to make estate planning decisions is when you are healthy and able.

Edward D. Alkalay is a partner at Alkalay & Smillie PLLC and can be reached at (603)447-8994 or ed@northconwaylawyers.com. (This article conveys general information and should not be relied on for legal advice without further research and/or consultation with an attorney.)

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By: Edward D. Alkalay