WHAT IS AN ESTATE PLAN?
An Estate Plan generally refers to a collection of documents that set forth your intentions as to how your property should be distributed upon your death and, your wishes if you become incapacitated and unable to make medical or financial decisions.
WHAT DOCUMENTS ARE INCLUDED IN AN ESTATE PLAN?
Usually a simple Estate Plan includes the following documents:
- Last Will and Testament
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Medical Power of Attorney
- Advanced Directive to Physicians
- HIPAA authorization
However, everyone’s life circumstances differ and estate plans should be tailored to each client’s individual needs and wishes
WHAT IS A WILL AND WHY DO I NEED ONE?
A will sets forth how you want your property disposed of or distributed upon your death. You choose to whom your property is distributed. You can give your property to your family, friends or charities. A will acts as the road map for your loved ones to follow after your death.
A will is the easiest way to transfer guardianship of minor children. You can choose guardians for your minor children as well guardians of the estates of minor children. A will can also create a trust to protect the finances of your minor children.
A will allows you to avoid a long and expensive probate process. Probate of an estate with a properly drafted will by an estate planning attorney is easier and less expensive than dying intestate (without a will).
Without a will, your estate will be distributed according to state intestacy laws.
WHAT IS A DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY?
A durable power of attorney allows you to designate an agent to handle your business affairs in the event you become incapacitated. These powers are generally very broad. It is of the utmost importance that you appoint a person that you trust. Please consult an attorney before signing any power of attorney.
WHAT IS A MEDICAL POWER OF ATTORNEY?
Except to the extent you state otherwise, a medical power of attorney gives the person you name as your agent the authority to make health care decisions on your behalf (in accordance with your wishes) if you become incapacitated and unable to make health care decisions.
WHAT IS AN ADVANCED DIRECTIVE TO PHYSICIANS ?
This document is designed to help you communicate your wishes about future medical treatment if you become unable to make your wishes known because of illness or injury.
WHAT IS A HIPAA AUTHORIZATION?
The Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)regulates the use and disclosure of protected health information concerning a patient. It is a federal law that was written to prevent health care providers and insurance companies from sharing your private health care information. A HIPAA authorization helps enable healthcare providers and insurance companies share your health care information with people you trust.