Estate planning isn’t just drawing up a will – there is a lot to take into consideration, including planning for end-of-life care and how to best protect your investments against excessive taxation. Choosing an attorney with experience in estate planning can help you preserve everything you’ve worked hard for.
Here are some documents that everyone should have in place – whether you’re worth $10,000 or $1,000,000.
A Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare
Couples generally assume they will be making healthcare decisions for one another and be privy to details protected by HIPAA. However, with a power of attorney document, each member of the couple – or anyone you choose to designate – will have the authority to act on your behalf concerning healthcare decisions.
Many of these documents have a special set of directions, as well as grant access to the individual’s medical records, which may be necessary if the individual is unable to make decisions for their course of treatment.
Without this document, medical professionals are under no obligation to follow anyone’s wishes about medical treatment except the patient themselves. If you have strong beliefs for or against certain procedures, having this in place will help support these even if you’re unable to advocate for yourself.
A Durable Power of Attorney for Finances and Property
Your power of attorney designee for healthcare may be different than the person you grant power of attorney for with regard to your property and finances. With this document, you’ll select an advocate that can access your bank accounts and financial records, pay your mortgage and other bills, manage your investments, and payback or take out loans on your behalf.
Without this, many banks, utility providers, and landlords will not allow anyone who isn’t named in the account to access it for information or other funds. Even married couples may be stonewalled if they aren’t the spouse on the account. For single individuals, it’s even more important to designate someone you trust to handle your affairs if you’re incapacitated.
Last Will and Testament
This is the document most people think when they think of estate planning. It disburses your possessions and finances to others after you die. Without a will, the state determines how your assets will be distributed, and all of these will be subject to a large inheritance tax.
Strategic planning for married couples will ensure that when the second spouse dies, their surviving children or heirs won’t be subject to a hefty inheritance tax.
This is slightly different from the power of attorney for medical decisions. A living will indicates which treatments you do or do not want should you suffer a terminal illness or end up in a permanent vegetative state. These include feeding tubes and other life-support treatments.
Living wills aren’t enacted unless you’re incapacitated, while a power of attorney for medical decisions can be enacted before this.
Plan For the Future – Today
Book your consultation with the Offices of Latoison Law today! Visit us online for more information about how we can help with your estate planning and rest peacefully knowing your future is secure.