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Aug 22, 2013

When many people hear the term ” estate planning” they assume that it means a will and other corresponding documents. In fact, advanced healthcare directives are also a very important part of estate planning. When you construct your estate plan, you are constructing a comprehensive plan that involves every aspect of what could potentially occur if you are very ill or if you pass away. An estate planning attorney can help you go through your options from start to finish.

When you construct an estate plan you will likely have to create two types of power of attorney. One is a financial and legal form of attorney that will be allowed to make decisions about your finances, such as paying bills from your checking accounts in the event that you are incapacitated. This simply needs to be someone you trust with your finances, and it can potentially be someone such as a family friend or a trusted adviser.

The person who holds your medical power of attorney, on the other hand, usually needs to be someone very close to you such as your spouse or your children. A medical power of attorney will govern all medical decisions that you cannot make. This includes decisions that are made while you are unconscious. The person you choose to have this power will need to be very well advised on your wishes in regards to a comprehensive set of situations that could potentially occur.

This is not where it ends, however. You will also want to file an advanced care directive. This directive will state what you want to happen in the event that you are comatose or your life is supported by machines. However, this care directive can still sometimes be overruled by family members. This means that you will want to meet with your family to explain to them exactly what you want done, so that there is no confusion and that they can obey your wishes as necessary.
An estate plan can be very complex due to the fact that there are many things that you will need to deal with. Estate plans should always be handled by professional legal staff, as this will avoid any potential issues down the line that you will not be around to resolve. Estate plans should also be done as soon as possible, as the unexpected can occur at any time.

Once you have created these healthcare plans, you can move on to more traditional items such as your will and your trusts. Creating a will is absolutely essential if you want to control how your estate will be separated after your passing. An estate is not only for those that are very wealthy: everyone who has a family and who has a net worth should have some form of estate plan. Trusts can be very important to govern an estate after you pass, because it allows you to control the conditions upon which items are dispensed as well as what happens to them in the event that certain conditions arise.