A will is the cornerstone of a good estate plan. Your will ensures that a trusted personal representative will have the legal authority to wrap up your estate and transfer your assets to beneficiaries as you wish.
However, a will only goes into effect after your death. A solid estate plan should also include documents that enable loved ones to assist you during your life should you become mentally or physically incapacitated.
1. HIPPA release form
The U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ensures the confidentiality and safe handling of private health care information. Signing a HIPAA release form as part of your estate plan allows you to authorize loved ones to access important information about your health status and prognosis.
2. Health care power of attorney
If you become incapacitated, you may not be able to make your own decisions about treatments you receive. Health care power of attorney allows you to name a trusted agent to make informed medical decisions on your behalf.
3. Advance directive for health care
An advance directive, or living will, is a document that enables you to explain in detail what types of end-of-life care you do or do not want to receive if you become terminally ill or enter a coma.
4. Durable power of attorney for finances
Durable power of attorney allows your chosen agent to handle your financial affairs, including paying bills, depositing money, signing contracts and completing tax forms.
When it comes to estate planning, it is important to know that taking action today could help both you and your loved ones better navigate the future. From settling your finances to preparing for unanticipated healthcare scenarios, with a good estate plan, you and your family should be well prepared for any scenario.