There are generally three stages that you must pass through when you are on your way to preparing for the future. The first one is the simple recognition of the fact that it is important to work with an estate planning attorney to put a plan in place. Unfortunately, it takes many people far too long to get to this point.
Understandably, a lot of otherwise responsible adults put the matter of estate planning on the back burner because it is not something that folks are especially anxious to think about. And even those who are completely at peace with their own mortality may feel as though they have plenty of time before they must take the matter seriously. In any event, when you recognize the fact that procrastination is putting your family at risk and resolve to take action, you have taken the first step.
To be certain that you are totally prepared for all eventualities in the most efficient and effective manner the next stage in the process would be to retain the services of an experienced estate planning attorney. There are many ways to pass along assets to your loved ones, and the best strategy is going to vary on a case-by-case basis. You invariably find that you gain far more than you put out when you engage the services of an elder law lawyer who has a thorough understanding of all the issues facing seniors.
And thirdly, once you have a plan in place you must be cognizant of the fact that updates are going to be necessary. Sometimes changes within your own life will necessitate estate plan alterations, such as divorce and/or remarriage. At other times things that are outside of your own control can affect your estate plan, such as new legislation that impacts the estate tax parameters or changes to the Social Security or Medicare systems.
Planning for the latter stages of your life is an important matter. If you have not yet taken that first step, now is the time to take action and get in touch with an experienced estate planning attorney. When you do, you will obviously address the financial part of the equation. At the same time, your estate planning attorney will also explain the importance of incapacity planning.
Living Will, HIPAA Release Form and Durable Powers of Attorney
Most people have heard of the power of attorney. It is a document that is used to empower someone to act in your behalf in a legally binding manner. One of the concerns that people must address when they are preparing for the eventualities of aging is the possibility of incapacity. If you were to become unable to make sound decisions for yourself, you would logically want to have appointed decision-makers to act in your behalf beforehand. This is where powers of attorney come become relevant in an elder law context.
But, standard powers of attorney do not remain in effect in the event of the incapacitation of the grantor. This is why durable powers of attorney are used by elder law attorneys who are assisting clients who want to include an incapacity component in their long-term plans. The durable power of attorney does indeed remain in effect after the incapacitation of the grantor.
There are different types of decisions that must be made if you become unable to make up for yourself. For this reason, and incapacity plan will typically include two different durable powers of attorney. There will be a durable financial power of attorney, and this is self-explanatory. You would add a durable power of attorney for health care to need someone to make medical decisions on your behalf. To aid the agent that you choose to make health care choices for you, you should include a HIPAA release form. This will give doctors the ability to legally allow your representative to view your medical records.
You should also execute a living will when you are devising your incapacity plan. This type of will has nothing to do with monetary asset transfers. With a living will, you state your wishes with regard to the utilization of life-sustaining measures like artificial nutrition and hydration and artificial respiration.
Learn More About Estate Planning!
If you are reading this, you reached this website because you are looking for estate planning information. Our estate planning attorneys are holding a number of informative seminars over the next few weeks, and you are invited to attend the session that fits into your schedule. They are free, but we do ask that you visit this page to register for the seminar that works for you.