Chances are you will need more than a will to holistically plan for end-of-life issues.
You have chosen to take the time to create an estate plan.
Make your time count.
According to a recent AgPro article, titled “4 Estate Planning Documents You Need Beyond a Will,” the best estate plans account for what will happen when you die and what will happen if you are merely incapacitated.
What can you do to prepare for both?
In addition to a will or trust, you will need a few more parts to your plan.
Power of Attorney.
By signing an power of attorney you entrust the agent with certain powers if you are to no longer be able to make your own decisions.
Can you only name one person?
No, in fact it is better to have multiple levels in the depth chart here.
In some situations, you may have one person (like a professional partner) better suited to make decisions for your business and a spouse who would be more suited to making family financial decisions.
If you feel strongly about what life preserving methods are to be used, you can communicate this in advance in a living will.
Not only will your wishes be met, but you will remove this stressful decision from your loved ones.
Full disclosure: I am no fan of living wills, preferring the specificity and flexibility of the a health care treatment directive instead.
Health Care Treatment Directive.
A health care directive will function similarly to a living will.
How is it different?
In a health care treatment directive, you can state the lifesaving or life preserving measure you would like performed should the situation arise under a variety of scenarios.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Release.
Your health records are private.
No one can have access to them without your permission.
A HIPAA release grants this permission and, consequently, makes it possible for your designated loved ones to access your physicians and medical records ... and make decisions regarding your health quickly and effectively.
If you want to provide the best outline you can, be sure to speak with your experienced estate planning attorney about creating these documents on your behalf.
So, how do you find an "experienced" estate planning attorney?
First, ask around. Friends, family and other professional advisors are trustworthy sources.
Second, conduct an "organic" search on "Google" for "estate planning" near you (e.g., "Estate Planning Anytown MoKan").
Third, either way, verify! Check out the education, experience, ratings and client reviews of any attorney before you contact him or her.
In fact, I use both of these services to thoroughly vett attorneys before referring members of our "client" family for legal help in other areas of law or for matters in jurisdictions outside Kansas or Missouri.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: AgPro (November 21, 2016) “4 Estate Planning Documents You Need Beyond a Will”