Everybody knows estate planning can be a stressful thing for individuals. What is even more stressful, though, is the struggles and disagreements families go through because of inadequate estate planning. One of the things a good estate planning attorney should do is assist you in setting up your estate plan so as to prevent future family conflicts.
Last week, which was National Estate Planning Week, the Wall Street Journal published an article discussing the documents you should keep in mind for preventing family conflicts down the road. Those documents include an advanced health care directive, a power of attorney, a HIPPA Release Form, a will, and a living trust.
End of life health care decisions can be morally and emotionally difficult for some families. An advanced health care directive is a form which details your preferences for health care and indicates a person or persons who have the ability to make health care decisions for you in the event you are unable to do so. Experts recommend that anybody over 18 have one of these forms filled out. Filling one of these out informs your family and providers of your wishes and answers the question of who makes the call on health care-related matters.
Incapacity can result in a person being unable to manage their own assets or even indicate how they would like them managed. Appointing a power of attorney before this happens is an excellent preventive measure. The form on which you appoint a power of attorney allows you to list the areas in which you wish the individual to assist you. Filling out one of these forms allows you to avoid conservatorship. In selecting a power of attorney, you may decide whether you want them to have the ability to act on your behalf immediately or only once you are incapacitated.
In our next power, we’ll continue with this topic.
Source: Forbes, “5 Key Estate Planning Documents To Help Avoid Family Conflicts,” October 21, 2011.