Estate Planning Documents Explained

by | Jul 23, 2020 | Estate Planning | 0 comments

Our Perfect Package includes three important documents: a last will & testament, a financial power of attorney, and a health care power of attorney (includes a living will).

These three documents form the foundation of any estate plan. Let’s talk about what these documents do for you and why they are important.

When we create an estate plan, we are anticipating two events: you are still alive but unable to manage your own affairs (think: terrible car accident or COVID-19 that leads to a prolonged hospitalization) or you die.

If you manage your own affairs (we call this incapacity) you will need help managing your finances and health care.

A financial power of attorney allows you to name a trusted friend or family member (we call this person an attorney-in-fact) to manage your finances. Your attorney-in-fact can pay your bills, file your taxes, receive and manage your income, and otherwise handle your affairs.

A health care power of attorney is very similar and it allows your health care representative to manage your health care. Your representative can give informed consent for procedures, complete discharge planning, and manage your overall care.

As you can imagine, making health care decisions for someone else is hard! For that reason our health care power of attorney is long and gives detailed instructions to assist your representative in making the best, most informed choice for you. This includes instructions for end of life (these directives are contained within a “living will”). A living will allows you to pick preferences for end of life care, including whether or not you want to receive artificial nutrition and hydration and stay on life support.

Finally, a last will and testament directs how your assets are managed after your death. If you have minor children, the will also nominates a guardian to care for them and can establish a trust fund.

I’m sure you are thinking of the term “trust fund kid” – a child who never has to work a day in his life because his parents or grandparents set up a trust to pay for everything. Depending on your level of assets, this can be true, but for most people, the trust fund in a will is simply a way to funnel your assets – no matter how valuable – into a trust that will benefit your children.

Whether or not you have children, your last will and testament dictates who will receive your assets upon your death. If you don’t have a will in place, there are statutes in place that say where your assets will go (mostly to your spouse and blood relatives).

These three documents: financial power of attorney, health care power of attorney, and last will and testament are incredibly important tools that everyone should have in place.

My Perfect Plan includes all three of these documents and starts at $450 for an individual and $600 for a couple. Ready to get started? You can schedule your free 30-minute consultation here.

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