Sunday, August 22, 2010

Property Owners Beware

I have posted about this in the past, but it bears repeating. In the mail this week I received an official-looking notice from an operation called National Record Service Inc. It referenced the official recording data for my house deed, and went on to state that "The U.S. Government Federal Citizen Information Center website recommends that property owners should have an official or certified copy of their deed." For the low one-time price of just $59.50 (which generously includes shipping and handling charges), National Record Service Inc. will obtain and send you a copy of this valuable document.

People, please DO NOT be taken in by this scam. Copies of your deed are available FOR FREE (or for a nominal photocopy charge) at the registry of deeds in the county in which your property is located. It is nothing short of highway robbery to part unsuspecting homeowners from $59.50 of their hard earned money for this purpose. This kind of stuff just makes my blood boil.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Health Care Proxies

One important component of a comprehensive estate plan is the execution of a Health Care Proxy. A Health Care Proxy is a document that allows the principal to appoint an agent with the legal authority to make medical and health care decisions on his or her behalf in the event of incapacity. The agent is legally empowered to authorize or withhold medical care in accordance with his or her best interpretation of the wishes of the principal. Because the agent must make such decisions and directions, a comprehensive Health Care Proxy will also include the principal's expression of wishes regarding types of medical care to be withheld or provided in the event of a terminal illness. Typically, the principal will be asked to express preferences regarding (a) do-not-resuscitate orders, (b) artificial respiration, (c) artificial nutrition, (d) major or minor surgery, (e) chemotherapy and other medications, and (f) a variety of other medical procedures. If you are embarking on the preparation of an estate plan, you would be well advised to consider who you would trust with making health care decisions on your behalf, and whether you would wish such medical procedures to be withheld or provided in the event you have a terminal condition and are unable to make such decisions on your own. A comprehensive Health Care Proxy can ensure that your wishes on this important subject will be carried out in accordance with your expressions.