Did you realize that with the proper legal documents in place, were you to become incapacity and unable to make decisions for yourself regarding your health and your wealth, you stand to make a tough process even tougher for your loved ones? Let’s review, once again, exactly what legal documents you need:
- An advance health care directive indicates your healthcare choices and is used only when you are unable to communicate your wishes. Ask your estate planning attorney about the one specific to your state.
- A power of attorney for finances lets you designate an individual to manage your financial affairs in the event you become incapacitated. If you fail to complete this form and you need help, a judge may appoint someone for you.
- A HIPAA release form lets those named in your advance health care directive and your power of attorney access your healthcare information to work on insurance issues if you are unable to yourself.
- A revocable living trust, unlike a will is effective from the moment it is signed and very often is a better way of handling your financial assets during your lifetime. While a Durable Power of Attorney can grow stale overtime, this is not the case with a trust which is a recognized legal entity at its formation. It is also a much better way to transfer property upon your death, as it is confidential, faster, and more flexible than the probate process. With a living trust, your wishes may be less likely to be contested than with a probated will. A trust may certainly be your best option; all you need is to schedule your complimentary consultation to learn if that is the case.
Not having an estate plan can be time-consuming, stressful, and costly for your heirs. Your estate will have to go through the probate process. There's also a good chance that your property won't be distributed as you wanted. By taking the time to create a carefully considered estate plan that clearly states your wishes, your family will have the peace of mind of knowing they did exactly what you wanted. Consult with an estate planning attorney; we can help you with that, call us at 757-259-0707.
Reference: Nerd Wallet (March 11, 2016) "10 Keys to Proper Estate Planning"