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Wills, Powers of Attorney, an Estate Plan - What are They?

Published 2/1/2018

What are the basic parts of an Estate Plan? 
We suggest these 4 documents:

  1. A Last Will and Testament.  A will outlines who will be in charge of your estate, how the estate is distributed, and will waive the requirement of the executor posting a surety bond.  We suggest everyone over the age of 18 have a will.  In a will you can give your executor the authority to access your digital assets, eg. your Facebook account, email, online financial information, and other digital assets.  This is becoming very important in the “digital age”.
  2. A Power of Attorney for Property. You can appoint an agent to act on your behalf for legal and financial matters while you are alive.  This power can be immediate or “springing” into effect upon the happening of a future event such as your being declared incompetent by a physician.  This is a very important and powerful document and you need to think carefully about who will act in your best interest.
  3. A Power of Attorney for Health Care.  Who do you want to be able to talk to your doctor if you become ill? Or talk to your insurance company to assist you with the billing issues?  The answer to your question - the person who you appoint as your agent.  This agent will be the person who carries out your direction for end of life decisions.
  4. A HIPAA release.  HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, passed in 1996, limits who can have access to your medical records.  By signing a HIPAA release you authorize your health care agent, your power of attorney, to be able to speak to your doctor and insurance company pursuant to the terms of the power of attorney document.

Disclaimer

This content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to solicit business or to provide legal advice. Laws differ by jurisdiction, and the information on this blog may not apply to every reader. You should not take, or refrain from taking, any legal action based upon the information contained on this blog without first seeking professional counsel.

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