People often think of estate planning as the act of drawing up a will or a trust to state your final wishes. This is definitely at the core of the process, but there are some details that can be overlooked. We will look at three of them in this post.
Advance Directives for Health Care
A properly constructed estate plan will address end-of-life eventualities. Admittedly, these are matters that are not very pleasant to think about. At the same time, if you stick your head in the sand, a difficult situation can be that much worse.
With this in mind, your plan should include documents called advance directives for health care, and one of them is a living will.
Would you want to be kept alive through the utilization of artificial life support methods? This is a question that you can answer in your living will. You can also include your organ and tissue donation and comfort care medication choices.
Secondly, medical situations can arise that are not directly related to the utilization of life support. To account for this possibility, you should include a durable power of attorney for health care. The agent that you name in the document would be empowered to act on your behalf in the event of your incapacity.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted as a response to encroachments on patient privacy. A provision contained within it prevents doctors from communicating medical information with anyone other than the patient.
To give your agent the ability to access the information they will need to make informed choices, you should include a HIPAA release form.
Beneficiary and Successor Beneficiary Designations
When you fill out forms associated with your life insurance policies, individual retirement accounts, and payable on death accounts, you name beneficiaries. In many cases, the administrator that guides you through the process will not mention successor beneficiaries.
You can add successors when you fill out these forms. If you have not done so, you should address this detail sooner rather than later. While you are at it, you should review the documents to make sure that the beneficiary designations reflect your current wishes.
Letter of Final Instructions
The third detail that we are going to shine a spotlight on is extremely important. If you use a will to facilitate asset transfers, you name an executor to follow your instructions and bring your wishes to fruition. When a trust is used, the estate administrator is the trustee.
These individuals will need information to be able to perform their duties effectively. You can pass it along in a document called a letter of final instructions.
This letter would include the location of important hard copy documents, and you should provide access information for your online accounts. Keys and access codes for property, vehicles, storage units, etc. should be passed along as well.
You should list all the people that should be notified about your passing in the letter, including personal connections along with professionals that will play a role in the administration process.
These are a handful of the details that should be addressed, but there are no rules. You just put yourself in the shoes of the administrator and provide them with the information they will need.
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You can visit this page to obtain more details and registration information.
Need Help Now?
If you have learned enough to know that it is time for you to work with a Glastonbury, CT estate planning lawyer to put a plan in place, we are here to help. You can send us a message to request a consultation appointment, and we can be reached by phone at 860-548-1000.
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