Wills and end of life planning

Let’s face it, discussions about wills and end of life planning are just not something that you look forward to, let alone actually getting the documents prepared and in a safe place for when they are needed. You are not alone. Roughly 50% of the adult population in the United States does not have a will.

Even before you reach your end of life, you will most likely have a need for proper planning and care. This is the stage where elder care and estate planning merge and having a trusted and knowledgeable adviser to guide you is invaluable. We can assist you and your loved one dealing with aging and disability in a variety of areas, such  as guardianships, nursing home rights and long term care planning.

Why leave it to chance?

At Winget-Hernandez P.C., we can serve this role for you and work with you to put together a comprehensive plan that protects you and your family, for now and as you get older and eventually reach the end of your life or become incapacitated (unable to make decisions).  We understand it can be difficult to consider what you would like to happen in the event of your incapacity or death, including who would make financial and medical decisions on your behalf, and we are here to help you create a plan that fits your needs and your budget.

This planning is best treated as a team activity with you and your family members at the table along with knowledgeable attorneys like ourselves. We bring a very relaxed approach to this planning so you feel comfortable sitting around the table with us. Our goal is to get in place the documents you and your family need so you can enjoy the rest of your life knowing you have made plans to take care of your loved ones upon your death or if you reach a stage where you are unable to make important financial or life-ending decisions.

What is Estate Planning?

An estate plan is a collection of legal documents that defines the proper management of assets during life, through disability, and after death. A typical estate plan includes these basic documents that we customize to the unique needs of you and your family.

  • Wills
  • Power of attorneys
  • Living wills

What is Elder Care Law?

Elder law is a legal term used to cover an area of legal practice that places an emphasis on issues affecting the growing aging population. Elder law attorneys are advocates for the elderly and their loved ones. Lelia is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the Virginia Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this practice area. She has knowledge of the senior population and their unique needs. She is aware of the physical and mental difficulties that often accompany the aging process. Because of her broad knowledge base she is able to more thoroughly address the legal needs of her clients.

As your Elder care attorney Lelia can help your family with:

  • Planning for Medicaid coverage of long-term care, and apply for coverage when the time comes
  • Planning and administering an estate
  • Representing guardians and conservators

Why choose us?

Lelia Winget-Hernandez is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the Virginia Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and has competed extensive training on estate planning in Virginia.  She has developed expansive knowledge in the areas of both estate planning and elder law.

We offer a flat rate for basic estate planning documents (wills, advance health care directive, and financial power of attorney), and are prepared to take the time to get to know you and thoroughly understand your concerns and goals.  We can also help you make decisions regarding the best way to protect your assets and ensure they will be properly maintained and distributed.

Terms related to estate planning and elder care law

There are a number of terms in estate planning that are not part of your everyday conversations. Here is a list of terms, with their definitions, that you should make sure you have a base knowledge of as you meet with a lawyer to prepare your estate planning documents and review your needs as you age.

Probate: Let’s start here with definitions. The reason you put a will in place is to avoid having your loved ones got through the probate process. Probate is the first step in the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person, resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person’s property under a will. Probate can be a quick process or a very lengthy and costly process. Getting all of your estate plan documents in order before you die, can avoid a lengthy probate process. Each state is different, so it is important to work with a lawyer who is knowledgeable about the probate process for your state.

Intestate: A term used when a person dies without a valid Will, so that his or her Estate passes to heirs based on the laws of his or her state.

Will (also known as a Last Will and Testament): Appoints a Guardian to care for minor children, nominates an Executor to administer the transfer of assets through Probate, and designates the individuals who should receive your assets.

Living Will: Describes your preferences on medical treatment if you are no longer able to articulate those decisions to your physician.

Power of Attorney: Elects an individual to act on your behalf if you are unavailable or unable to make decisions on your own.

Trust: Transfers assets while avoiding Probate, limiting creditor claims, and avoiding unnecessary expense.

Beneficiary Designations: Transfers assets to the individuals listed without regard to the terms of your Will or Trust.

Incapacity (or “Incompetency”): A person’s inability to act on his or her own behalf, e.g. do they have a “sound mind” for drafting and signing a Will.  A court makes a finding of incapacity, normally with the aid or input of a physician.

Power of Attorney for Health Care or Healthcare Power of Attorney: A written document in which an individual designates another person to make healthcare and health-related decisions in the event that the individual becomes incapacitated and is unable to do so.

Contact us at  info@winget-hernandez.com or 434-589-2958

Other Resources

If you or someone you love is over sixty-five or facing health challenges, you may find these resources helpful: