Preparing a Will is for most people the first step in providing for your family after death. However, estate planning is more than simply creating a Will. It is organizing and coordinating the ownership and distribution of your assets so that your wishes regarding the distribution of your property will be accomplished. It always involves a thorough review of a person’s assets, ownership of those assets and any beneficiary designation.
Every thorough estate plan should also include the preparation of a Heath Care Durable General Power of Attorney/Health Care Directive. A Health Care Power of Attorney is a document that may include (a) the designation of an attorney-in-fact to make health care decisions for you, (b) provide specific instructions if you are unable to communicate them yourself and /or (c) a written statement to your doctor and family setting forth your instructions regarding the medical treatment you wish to receive when you are incapacitated due to health reasons, or terminally ill.
An Asset Management Durable Power of Attorney is a written instrument that appoints a person or institution to be your Attorney-In-Fact. The Attorney-In-Fact is authorized to handle your financial affairs. The Attorney-In-Fact is often a spouse or adult child. Upon death, the Power of Attorney terminates. A Power of Attorney may eliminate the need for a court approved guardianship.