Essential Elements of an Estate Plan
Mortality is something that most people chose to ignore. Therefore, they postpone planning for future incapacity and death. However, there is no greater gift one can give their family than preparing for their inevitable passing or for possible incapacity.
Every Age Brings Challenges
At each stage in life there are some issues to deal with, some more pressing others.
For a couple with a child or children selecting guardians for those children and providing for the management of the parents’ funds should they both die, is usually the parents’ priority, for a single parent even more so.
As one ages and has adult children, concerns are for what happens to the parent’s money after they die. If one remarries, how should one provide for both their spouse and their children from their first marriage? Should they leave their money to a child outright or in a trust?
As people further age, concerns are for what happens if one is unable to manage their own affairs or must go to a nursing home.
A Will and Powers of Attorney
A good basic estate plan consists of a will, and documents that deal with incapacity and end of life decisions. These documents may include a power of attorney and directive to physicians.
A directive to physician (living will) is needed for when end of life decisions must to be made. This document can be used if a person does not want to be given a feeding tube, resuscitated, intubated, or would like food and water to be withheld. One may also designate a conservator, a court appointed person, friend or loved one to manage their affairs if they are not able to do so on their own.
Women of childbearing age may make advanced provisions regarding them and their fetus in a health care directive.
A power of attorney can have broad and sweeping powers or be tailored to specific situations. One must choose someone they can really trust to deal with their financial institutions and government departments if they are unable to on their own.
More Complex Than a Form
Many think that all you need for all of the above is to fill out a form, but there is much more to consider, and an experienced attorney will know how to educate and guide a person to what is truly in the best interest for themselves and their loved ones. Also, they will see that these documents are executed properly with witnesses and a notary.
I Can Help with These Questions
There are basic and additional powers in a power of attorney document which need to be explained and discussed with a client so they can make an informed decision. As you can see many of these possible decisions may not be comfortable. Therefore, the guidance of an experienced attorney is very critical in helping a client reach an informed decision.