What legal papers do I need to take care of a friend’s estate and make health decisions for her?

My best friend wants me to take care of her estate, which is very little. She is ill and wants me to make the decisions for her health if she is unable to. She has a daughter but she doesn’t want her to take care of her because she is a drug addict. Do I need a power of attorney, living trust, something that makes me the executor of her estate?

Asked on August 22, 2018 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

1) For the estate, there must be a will naming you as executor and providing instructions or directions as to who inherits what (it can all go to you, if that's what the will says).
2) For medical decisions, you need a health care proxy or living will naming you to make medical decisions for her (the name of this document varies by states).
Any trusts and estates attorney can very easily draw up these documents for your friend and make sure they are properly signed and witnessed. (If not signed and witnessed the right way, they will not have any power.) Or your friend can create these herself: she should be able to find sample forms and instructions online, but needs to also look up and review (and be confident in her ability to review) your state's laws about these documents, to make sure that she includes any necessary language and has them properly signed and witnessed. 


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