Thinking about your eventual death may not be pleasant, but if you want to ensure that your wishes are followed after your death, or in the event that you become mentally or physically incapacitated, it is important to put your discomfort aside and create several important estate planning documents. These documents are not easy and straightforward to write, so it is in your best interest to consult an estate planning attorney to ensure that everything is done correctly and is legally binding. Some of the most important estate planning documents include:
Last Will and Testament or Living Trust
A will and a trust are similar in the fact that both documents outline how you want your assets to be distributed after your death. They differ legally because a will has to go through probate court before the estate is settled, while a trust is not required to be reviewed by the courts. Your lawyer will be able to tell you which option is the better choice for your situation.
Financial Power of Attorney
A financial power of attorney document names a person to have access to your finances and make legal decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. It is possible to have your lawyer include different terms into the agreement to give the appointed person more or less power depending on your wishes. Some people include exclusions on the financial power of attorney document, such as preventing the power of attorney to make changes to the beneficiary designated to any retirement accounts you may have.
Medical Power of Attorney
A medical power of attorney form names the person that you are entrusting to make all medical decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. It is important to include a clause in this form citing a HIPPA provision so your medical power of attorney will legally be able to access your medical information according to HIPPA regulations. The person named as medical power of attorney does not have to be the same person who is designated as financial power of attorney.
A living will outlines your wishes in regards to continued medical care. Some people want to have their lives prolonged by any means possible, while others prefer a do not resuscitate (DNR) order which requests that no life saving measures be taken in the event that a person stops breathing or the heart stops on its own. In addition to having your wishes included in your living will, you should also make sure that your medical power of attorney knows how you feel about end of life care.
To learn more, contact a law firm like Beck Law Office PC LLO.Share
1 September 2015
There are so many legal situations that you can find yourself involved with, but do those situations really require that you hire an attorney? Some instances you may not need an attorney working with you, but in other situations, an attorney is definitely a necessity. This blog contains tips and advice for working through the different elements of the legal system. You will find information that can help you determine if/when you need to hire an attorney to represent your best interests. Knowing this information can help you avoid the costly mistake of taking on the legal system without someone who knows how the system works.