What Documents Make Up an Estate Plan?

Estate plan
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Every adult can benefit from an estate plan.

People are adept at making excuses to avoid certain tasks.

Sometimes these are inconsequential.

Other times they can be detrimental.

According to a recent Florida Today article titled “No matter your age, income or crushing debt, you should have an estate plan,” the reasons people give for not creating an estate plan may keep them from taking important and necessary actions.

An estate plan is helpful in times of tragic accidents.
Adults of any age should have an estate plan in place.

Although estate planning certainly involves choosing what will happen to your things when you die, it is more than this.

Comprehensive estate planning also includes incapacity planning.

This involves selecting trusted individuals to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself.

How do estate planning documents accomplish these tasks?

Power of attorney.

A financial power of attorney allows you to designate someone to manage your finances on your behalf.

This is essential because bills will still need to be paid if you are in the hospital.

The person chosen should be both responsible and smart with money.

Health care surrogate.

Imagine yourself hospitalized.

Perhaps you were in an accident or were undergoing a complicated surgery.

The doctors need someone to make decisions regarding care.

Because you will be unable to do so, you should have a health care surrogate named.

This grants someone the authority to make health care decisions for you.

Last will and testament.

Although most people know this estate plan document is used to indicate who inherits your assets, it does more than this.

A last will and testament is also used to designate who will oversee your estate as the executor and who will rear minor children as their guardian.

Beneficiary designations.

Some assets allow for one to designate a direct beneficiary.

These designations supersede the instructions provided in a last will and testament.

Examples of these accounts or assets include annuities, life insurance polices, retirement accounts, and other financial accounts.

HIPAA Waiver.

HIPAA protects the records of a patient from being shared with someone else.

With a HIPAA waiver, you can designate a third party to receive and use your health information.

If you fail to have this in place, your loved ones may be left out of treatment decisions.

Revocable Living Trust.

Although a last will and testament is sufficient for many individuals and families, some may benefit from the inclusion of a revocable living trust (RLT).

Using a RLT as part of an estate plan allows for property to pass outside of probate.

Estate planning certainly has benefits for any person and is not simply for the rich and famous.

To better protect yourself and your loved ones, schedule an appointment with an experienced estate planning attorney.

Reference: Florida Today (May 28, 2022) “No matter your age, income or crushing debt, you should have an estate plan”

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