Thinking about creating a Will, but not sure what that really means? The structure of an Estate Plan will vary from person to person, but a comprehensive Will should include the following documents:
1. Last Will and Testament
2. Financial Power of Attorney
3. Healthcare Directives
A Comprehensive Estate Plan
Your Last Will and Testament is a legal document that allows you to clearly communicate your end-of-life wishes for your assets and for your family members. A complete Last Will and Testament should clearly outline the following:
– The Executor or Personal Representative: the people you appoint to carry out the provisions of your Will upon your death.
– The Beneficiaries: the people who will be inheriting your assets
– Instructions for How and When to Distribute the Assets
– Guardians for Minor Children: the people you wish to legally care for your children if you become incapacitated or pass away
But wait! There’s more.
In addition to a Last Will and Testament, there are several other important documents to include with your estate plan to ensure that the people you have directed to carry out your wishes are legally able to do so.
Financial Power of Attorney
A Financial Power of Attorney allows you to appoint a representative to manage your finances should be unable to do so for yourself. A general practice is to provide this person with all the legal authority over your finances that you hold, so that they may truly act on your behalf.
Healthcare directives are a compilation of three specific documents intended to clearly communicate your healthcare and end-of-life desires.
1. Healthcare Power of Attorney: this document allows you to appoint a representative to make healthcare decisions on your behalf should you be unable to do so for yourself.
2. Living Will: in this document, you can specifically outline any healthcare services you wish to receive, or perhaps, more importantly, those you DO NOT wish to receive.
3. HIPPA Authorization: this document allows you to name an individual who can have access to your medical information so that your health care provider or insurance company has no reservations about sharing your protected medical information with them.