An estate plan, regardless of the size of the estate, should include at least three (3) documents: a Last Will and Testament, a Financial Power of Attorney or General Durable Power of Attorney and an Advance Directive for Healthcare.
Last Will and Testament
A Last Will and Testament will ensure that your property is passed to the persons you choose rather than according to state laws. In addition, if you have minor children, you can and should name guardians for your minor children in your Last Will and Testament who will raise you children. You can also name backup or contingent guardians for your children to ensure that your children are raised by persons you select rather than persons the court selects.
Financial Power of Attorney or General Durable Power of Attorney
A Financial Power of Attorney or General Durable Power of Attorney provides your designated agent the ability to act in the event of your disability to make legal and financial decisions for you. In the absence of such a document, it is possible that in the event of your incapacity, your family may be forced to seek a court’s decision to determine what happens to your assets. In selecting an agent, you should consider designating someone you trust and who is financially savvy.
Advance Directive for Healthcare
An Advance Directive for Healthcare, or in some states a Living Will and a Healthcare Power of Attorney, designate an individual to make important healthcare decisions on your behalf in the event you are incapacitated. If your Advance Directive for Healthcare does not include a HIPPA Release, you should also execute a HIPPA Release allowing the persons you designate to have access to information regarding your healthcare. You should pick someone you trust and who you believe will follow you wishes as this individual may literally be making life or death decisions for you. In addition, you should consider designating a backup agent in the event your primary agent is unable to act or unable to be reached.
We work with individuals and families to develop estate plans. Each individual’s needs are unique and this article only provides an overview of one aspect of estate planning. For more detailed information and to discuss your specific case, call us today at (678)781-9230 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.
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