A basic “Simple” Estate plan should be on everyone’s ‘to-do’ list. It protects you and your family in the most efficient cost-effective manner and makes the most sense considering the problems and issues it helps to avoid. The following documents should be included in your estate plan……
Last Will and Testament (or simply The Will) is clearly your first and most necessary document. It can protect your spouse from convalescent expenses, appoint a guardian for your minor children, take care of your grandchildren and designate your executor as well as determine how and to whom your assets pass.
Designation of a Health Care Agent is vital. In the event, that for whatever reason you cannot make your own decisions concerning medical care or end of life decisions your designation of a health care agent will authorize a person of your choosing to carry out your wishes. Without this document, all medical and health decisions will be left to family and that can be a complicated matter.
Living Will is an important document that notifies your family and health care provider what your wishes are when it comes to end of life decisions. To take, or not take, extraordinary medical and health measures is one that should be given serious consideration with this document that will let others know what you desire should such a situation arises.
Power of Attorney. This is a document that can be used for one time only, a short period of time, or it can be drafted for future use to allow someone of your choosing to manage your day-to-day life decisions, financial interests or otherwise, in the event you cannot do so. A Power of Attorney is especially important if you own a business in order to maintain continuity of running that business.
Designation of a Future Conservator is a smart choice for long term help in the event that we lose our ability to manage our own life choices. Though similar in tasks, one benefit of the Conservator over a Power of Attorney is that the probate court will supervise the conservator while your power of attorney, is unsupervised now that you can’t watch over them. And again, if you do not name the person you want to be Conservator, the Probate Court will appoint an outside individual.
“HIPAA” Form is the last, but equally important to execute as it declares who you wish to share your medical information with. Most people appoint their spouse and children but with the form you can appoint, or not appoint, whomever you wish.