When crafting an estate plan, it’s important to have the plan in place before anything happens.
Putting an estate plan in place can get complicated when you suddenly suffer an unexpected injury and become incapable of communicating your desires to caregivers. Without your wishes and directions in place, your desires can be neglected or even overridden by even the most well-meaning of caregivers.
Therefore we recommend estate planning be done sooner rather than later. Since life can change in a moment, your estate plan can and should be designed now, at any age.
If you want to discuss your Last Will and Testament or talk about your estate, contact an estate planning attorney near you to consider your options.
Last Will and Testament
While a last will and testament serves as the final orders after you pass, a living provides active direction while you are alive.
Sometimes referred to as a medical directive or healthcare directive, a living will helps you to legally state your wishes regarding medical treatment. More specifically, a living will provides family members and healthcare providers instructions should you suffer an injury or illness that causes you to be unable to communicate how your care should be handled.
If you should suffer an injury that results in the loss of consciousness, a living will gets activated and supplies your family what to tell healthcare professionals about your personal treatment, including any directives regarding your preferences for medical care at the end of life.
Do not confuse a living will with a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order. While they may sound similar, a living will clarify for the health care professionals whether you want blood transfusions, feeding tubes, and other medical technologies/procedures. A DNR order only states that, should your heart stop, you do not want any attempts at resuscitation.
Durable Power of Attorney
Estate planning can be a bit like remodeling your home: you will want professional help to make sure everything is as it should be. An experienced estate planning attorney, liked Dan Hill of the Hill Group, can help guide you as to how to include a Power of Attorney within in your plan.
Like living wills, durable power of attorney provides reliable aid while you are still alive. Should you become incapacitated and unable to make sound decisions, the power of attorney grants decision-making power to an individual that you have named and trust to make sound decisions on your behalf.
For example you can specify that they can make financial decisions such as paying the mortgage or paying your taxes. The power of attorney limits the scope and duration generally speaking of the powers, meaning you decide, with proper advice from your attorney, what to include and exclude.
Trusts in estate planning generally follow three models:
• Revocable Living Trust: An individual can appoint successors or an organization to handle any assets.
• Irrevocable Trust: An individual can protect assets from any applicable estate taxes.
• Charitable Remainder Annuity Trusts: An individual can build wealth while saving on estate taxes.
We will have to get into details about Trusts in a different blog.