Although it can sometimes be difficult to think about our own mortality, it is important to have an estate plan to be sure your last wishes are respected. An experienced estate planning attorney can assist you with this process.
Some essential estate planning documents you will need include:
Last Will and Testament.
Your Last Will and Testament details to whom and how you would like your property distributed after your death, including any real estate or business interests. A Last Will and Testament also allows you to determine who will care for your minor children and who should manage their inheritance until they reach an age to be determined by you.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care.
The Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care gives specific instructions stating what your health care decisions would be if you are unable to make or communicate medical decisions. It also serves to appoint your agent who is responsible for communicating and carrying out your wishes.
HIPAA Release and Authorization.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) prohibits the release of your medical information to anyone unless authorized by you, including even to spouses and adult children. Therefore, we advise clients to have a HIPAA Release and Authorization form as part of their estate planning documents. This document allows the release of such information to your healthcare agent and, if you wish, to close family members.
Statutory Power of Attorney.
The Statutory Power of Attorney allows your named agent to access your financial accounts. This is especially useful if you are incapacitated; however, since this document may be used even if you are not incapacitated, we generally recommend that you only name trusted individuals in this document.