A Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives certain powers to someone you appoint to act on your behalf. The Power of Attorney will specifically lay out the powers that are given to the person whom you appoint. There are two types of power of attorneys that you can sign. A Healthcare Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone to make healthcare decisions for you. A Durable Power of Attorney will appoint someone to handle everything else for you, including making deposits, paying bills, filling out insurance paperwork, etc. Signing a Power of Attorney ensures that someone you trust will manage your financial affairs and make healthcare decisions in the event that you are not able to do so for yourself. A Power of Attorney is especially important if you have health problems that you foresee affecting your ability to handle matters for yourself in the future.
When a client meets with me about Estate Planning, after some discussion, I usually find that they need the following documents for proper estate planning; a Will, a Financial Power of Attorney, a Health Care Power of Attorney and a Living Will.
These are the documents that I have had prepared for myself. These are the Estate Planning documents I haveprepared for numerous friends and family members.
Do you need a Trust? Do you need a complicated Will?
Usually not, but it all depends on the value of your estate. If your estate is worth more than one million dollars then we will discuss more complex estate planning opportunities that will further protect your estate for your heirs. But for most families, the aforementioned documents take care of all their needs and insure when they become ill or pass away, their estates are properly handled.
A Last Will & Testament is a legal document we all need. In the state of Tennessee, if you don’t have a Will, the law establishes who will receive your estate. And you may not like who gets everything you worked so hard to accumulate. Take charge of who gets what, when and under what circumstances in your Will.
A Durable (Financial) Power of Attorney is a much needed document. Usually, if you are married your spouse will be able handle your financial affairs when you can’t. However, if your spouse can’t do it, then who will? You can determine that person by having a Durable Power of Attorney prepared.
Of the utmost importance is your Health Care Power of Attorney. Who is able to make health care decisions on your behalf? Who do you trust to make the right decisions? You can make those decisions now by having a Health Care Power of Attorney prepared.
And finally, everyone needs a Living Will. Each of us has their own ideas about how they want to live during the end-stages of life. Make those decisions now in legal documents that your doctor and family will be required to abide by.
Estate Planning does not have to be complicated or expensive. However, by not taking care of these legal matters on the front end, you can often cause your family to spend much more money later, trying to take care of these matters for you.
For instance, a simple Health Care Power of Attorney can cost id=”mce_marker”00.00. However, should you fail to have this document prepared and then require medical care that you can not consent to, your family will be forced to hire an attorney to file a Petition for Conservatorship. The Court will require a hearing to determine who can make health care decisions for you. Affidavits from doctors will be required and often a Guardian Ad Litem will also be appointed. Conservatorships can cost a family a few thousand dollars.
A Health Care Power of Atttorney would have avoided all of this.