Attorney David G. Christoffersen firmly believes every adult needs three documents: a will, a living will, and a general, durable power of attorney. Once those documents are prepared and filed, clients can relax knowing if the unthinkable happens, their wishes will be legally known and followed.
Christoffersen grew up in Lawrenceville and is a Lawrenceville School alumnus. He has been a practicing attorney since 1984 and is licensed in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. His private practice is located in the Lexington Mews Office Park on Parkway Avenue.
Christoffersen is “offering seniors 60 and over a financial break on the cost of a simple will, power of attorney, and a living will — the three documents everyone should have,” he says.
“Everyone needs a will,” Christofersen says. With or without a will, when you die certain estate administrative tasks need to be completed, from closing bank accounts to dealing with life insurance companies. Having a will means you choose who performs these tasks. Without a will, the probate judge decides.
A living will allows your wishes to be known legally when you are no longer able communicate what medical treatment you want, and when you are in the final days or weeks of a terminal condition, or else in a permanent vegetative state. If you have a preference for how you want to be treated if the unthinkable happens, a living will is a must. This document tells doctors and other medical professionals what life sustaining treatment you want and don’t want, and names individuals the doctors should turn to for guidance and clarity.
The general, durable power of attorney is in case of a physical and/or mental disability and it becomes impossible for you to care for yourself and your property. New Jersey law assumes you are mentally competent. Without a power of attorney, it becomes necessary to go to court to have someone declared mentally incompetent. This is time-consuming, expensive, and distasteful.
Christoffersen recalled his experience with representing the elderly wife of an Alzheimer’s patient. When he became too much for his wife to manage at home, she drove her husband to a Veterans Hospital. Even though they were legally married, and he was a veteran, the V.A. would not admit him because he was no longer mentally competent to consent to his own hospital admission.
When he was still mentally competent, he had not signed a power of attorney naming his wife as his agent, and now he was no longer mentally competent to sign one. The moral of this experience is “not even one’s spouse has the legal authority to act on one’s behalf simply by virtue of being one’s spouse,” Christoffersen says.
David G. Christoffersen welcomes the opportunity to meet with you to discuss how he can help you. “You may never need these documents, but if you do, God forbid you don’t have them.”
David G. Christoffersen, Christoffersen Law Firm, Lexington Mews Office Park, 795 Parkway Avenue, Suite A1, Trenton. 609-844-0800.