As the holiday season comes to a close and it’s time to take down decorations, it’s also a good idea to take a moment and review your estate planning documents. Many of us don’t like to think about end-of-life matters, but the truth is, it’s essential to have your affairs in order. No matter your age or asset level, having a few key documents in place can provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones.
Here’s a list of what to consider when updating your estate planning portfolio:
- Last Will and Testament: This document specifies how you want your assets to be distributed and who will handle the settling of your estate upon your passing. Without a will, the decision to appoint a representative falls on the court, and your assets will pass according to succession laws that may not be acceptable to you. It’s important to think about how you want your assets to be distributed and discuss this with your estate planning attorney.
- Trust: Trusts can serve a variety of purposes, such as reducing tax liability. Consider setting up a revocable living trust or a trust for long-term care needs. Trusts can also protect future generations’ assets or provide for loved ones with special needs.
- Financial Power of Attorney: This document allows a trusted individual to access funds and pay bills on your behalf if you are unable to do so due to an accident or illness. It can be set up to be used at any time or only in the case of incapacitation. This can provide valuable protection for you and your loved ones, especially in the event of an unexpected hospitalization or prolonged illness.
- Healthcare Power of Attorney: This document allows a family member or friend to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so. It also allows you to provide instructions for end-of-life care in advance. This can be especially important if you have strong beliefs about the type of care you want to receive or if you have a terminal condition. With this document in place, your loved ones won’t have to guess what you would have wanted.
- HIPAA Authorization: This form is necessary for a family member or trusted individual to access your medical information. With the rise of electronic medical records, it’s more critical than ever to have this document in place. Without it, your loved ones may be unable to access important information about your health, making it difficult to make informed decisions on your behalf.
As we begin a new year, it’s a good time to review and update these documents to ensure they comply with current legal requirements and still meet your needs. Don’t wait for an unexpected event to occur before taking action. Contact the specialists at Salines-Mondello Law Firm, PC to update your estate plan today. With the right documents in place, you can rest easy knowing that your loved ones will be taken care of in the event of an unexpected event.