In my estate planning practice, I find it very common for people of all ages to not have essential estate planning documents. These documents are crucial for a person’s loved ones in the event that person passes away, and even more important if that person becomes incapacitated and is not able to make important decisions regarding their healthcare and finances. Estate planning documents not only give comfort to your family after you pass away but also have a very real impact on your quality of life while you are alive. The estate planning documents that everyone should have, no matter their age or asset level are a Durable Power of Attorney, Indiana Healthcare Representative Appointment, and Last Will and Testament.
Durable Power of Attorney
People I meet for the first time always know they need a Last Will and Testament. This is an important document and I’ll discuss it more below, but I would argue that more important are a Durable Power of Attorney and a Healthcare Representative Appointment. A Last Will and Testament deal with your “stuff” after you die. The other documents allow you to appoint individuals to make important decisions for you while you are alive. In particular, the Durable Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone you trust with money to manage your financial affairs, such as managing your investments account, keeping track of bank balances, and selling real estate, to name but a few areas you can appoint this person to manage.
Healthcare Representative Appointment
Likewise, a Health Care Representative Appointment allows you to appoint a person to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to. This is an important document because there is no telling when an accident or illness will incapacitate an individual. With this power of attorney already created if the unthinkable happens, you know that your medical decisions are in the hands of someone you trust.
Last Will and Testament
A will is probably the most well-known estate planning document. This document is used after death. It is an outline of what you would like to be done with your assets and possessions after death. You can name a guardian to your children, leave specific items to specific people, and make donations to charity. A will allows you peace of mind that your loved ones will be taken care of after your death and provides them a sort of instruction book to follow during the difficult time of dealing with death. Without exception, my clients feel a great deal of relief and accomplishment after signing their estate documents, including their Last Will and Testaments.
Where To Go From Here?
These documents are not a comprehensive list of all estate planning options. Every person’s situation is different and the estate plan must be tailored to the needs of each individual. The estate planning attorneys at Beers Mallers are here to help get the right documents prepared for you. Contact us today.