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Other than a will, are there other estate planning documents?

On Behalf of | May 17, 2021 | Estate Planning

There has been, perhaps, no other time in recent history where estate planning has been such a popular topic. After all, with the craziness of the past year, it is no wonder many of us are trying to figure out how to prepare for unexpected events, and many have found that the best way to do this is with an estate plan. Though, while many realize that everyone needs a will, there are a couple of other important documents needed in a solid estate plan.

Thinking about life in an estate plan

What many forget about during an estate plan is that it is not just about death. It is also about life. For example, in this blog, we will talk about a durable general power of attorney and health care power of attorney. Both of these documents actually expire upon death, but they are needed for drafter while they are alive, should they become incapacitated or unable to make their own decisions.

Financial and legal decisions

A durable general power of attorney is the document that is used for financial and legal decisions. Essential, this document appoints an agent (third party) selected by the drafter that will make decisions for the drafter, should they become incapacitated. This is most important for those people that own and operate their own businesses. Though, there are several other situations where this could be important, but speaking one’s personal attorney is needed to determine what should be included in this document.

Healthcare decisions

A health care power of attorney with an advance medical directive is designed to not just appoint an agent to make healthcare decisions for the drafter when they are unable, but also tell that person the drafter’s wishes. Specifically, if one wants to be kept on life support, they can outline those wishes in the advance medical directive, including how long to be on life support, organ donation, religious barred procedures, etc.

This can serve two functions. First, if one knows what they want, they can make that known and ensure that their wishes are followed. And, second, they can take the end-of-life decision burden off of their family. After all, if one is at the end of their life, it is an extremely hard time for their family members, and leaving end-of-life decisions up to them during this time can be cruel.

The takeaway

Call a New York, NY (metro area) estate planning attorney. As readers can tell, these issues can become complicated, and we never know what we do not know. And, and attorney can help with what we do not know.