Thinking about your end of life plans is often uncomfortable and many people would prefer to put the process off as long as possible. However, whether you are in your 20s or you are in your 90s, there are a handful of essential estate planning documents that everyone should have in place.
First, it is important to establish a Will. What is a Will? It is a document that allows you to name a guardian for a minor, establish how your assets will be distributed after your death, and designate a personal representative or an executor to move your will through the probate process. For most, a Will is usually the document that comes to mind when they think of their end of life plans. Though it is important, a will does not cover everything and is only one piece of the estate planning process.
Second, having a financial power of attorney (or property power of attorney) set in place is essential. Naming a financial power of attorney gives your trusted agent the ability to act on your behalf to make financial decisions and conduct financial transactions if you are no longer capable of doing so on your own.
Third, you should sort out the 3 pieces to your healthcare puzzle: healthcare power of attorney, a living will, and HIPAA Authorization. To start, appointing a healthcare power of attorney gives your trusted agent the ability to make important medical care decisions for you should you be incapacitated or unable to speak on your own behalf. Next, with a living will you can specify certain medical decisions and preferences ahead of time, such as treatments you would or would not want to be used to keep you alive, pain management decisions, and organ donation preferences. Finally, HIPAA Authorization is where you can designate who you wish to have access to your protected healthcare information.
These essential documents are just a few of many complex steps that go into creating a comprehensive estate plan. It is important to speak with a professional to make sure that you have everything in order before your death. If you would like to learn more and get started with your estate planning, contact Horn & Johnsen SC at https://hornjohnsen.com/contact-us/