WHAT OTHER ESTATE PLANNING DOCUMENTS SHOULD I HAVE?
Critically important to any good estate plan are power of attorney documents. There are two such documents. One is a Durable Power of Attorney for financial decision making. The other is a Medical Power of Attorney for medical decision making. See Advance Directives for more information on a Medical Power of Attorney.
In each of these documents, you name an agent to act on your behalf to make decisions should you become incapacitated.
For example, let’s assume that you developed Alzheimer’s Disease, and could no longer make decisions for yourself. These documents would allow someone you have named to act on your behalf as your agent to make decisions for you.
These documents are particularly important, because without them, a court would have to name a conservator to act for you. A conservatorship is a very long, drawn out process, with substantial court intervention and frequent reporting required. It can be very expensive.
Of course, these documents are no substitute for Wills or Trusts, which control your property upon your death. Think of power of attorney documents as “what happens if I’m still alive but I’m incapacitated and can no longer make decisions on my own behalf?” Think of a will or trust as the documents that answer the question “what happens to my property when I die?”
WARNING: Many people’s power of attorney documents currently in place are outdated and just plain wrong! They may not work to help your loved one with planning such as Medicaid Planning or Veteran’s Benefits Planning. Recommendation: Have these documents reviewed ASAP by a qualified Estate Planning Attorney who can help you determine if they are appropriate.
The key is to make sure these are in place or updated before your loved one has problems with physical or mental incapacity-at which point it is too late and a guardianship proceeding may be necessary.
Call today for a no obligation phone consultation and we can discuss your specific situation. We can talk about how I can help you put in place an estate plan that’s right for you and your family. Call 949-798-6186, or fill out the form on the right. I look forward to speaking with you soon!