Everyone knows that you have to draw up a will or a trust to facilitate asset transfers after you are gone. This being stated, there are some finer details that should be attended to when you are devising your estate plan, and we are going to look at three of them in this post.
Advance Directives for Health Care
A proper estate plan will go beyond the monetary part of the equation. In addition to the events that will take place after your passing, you should also address end-of-life issues.
This is not a very pleasant subject, but many people become unable to communicate medical decisions toward the end of their lives. To account for this eventuality, your estate plan should include documents called advance directives for health care.
You can state your life-support preferences in a living will, and you can address each respective life-support technique individually if you choose to do so. The document can include your organ and tissue choices and your comfort care medication preferences.
Situations can arise that have nothing to do with the utilization of life-support methods. To account for this, your plan should include a durable power of attorney for health care. The agent that you name in the document would be empowered to act as your representative for medical decision-making.
Doctors are not allowed to share medical information with anyone other than the patient because of a provision contained within the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). A HIPAA release should be added to give your health care agent the ability to speak freely with your doctors.
Letter of Final Instructions
Someone has to complete the hands-on tasks that will bring your wishes to fruition after you pass away. This would be the trustee if you have a trust, and an executor would act as the administrator if you were to utilize a simple will to facilitate asset transfers.
There is certain hand-to-mouth information that will be needed by the administrator, and you can provide it in a letter of final instructions.
The letter should list the individuals that should know about your passing. These would include personal contacts along with professionals that will play a role in the administration process.
You have to pass along the location of relevant documents, and you should share the login information for accounts that you manage online. If you have blogs, websites, and/or social media accounts, you should let the administrator know how you want them to be handled.
Some people make final arrangements in advance, and if you have done this, you should provide all the necessary information in the letter. These are some things to think about, but you simply apply common sense when you construct the letter.
Beneficiary and Successor Beneficiary Designations
You name beneficiaries when you fill out payable on death account paperwork and forms that are associated with life insurance policies and individual retirement accounts. Over the years, your wishes can change, so you should always make sure that these designations are up to date.
Plus, a lot of people fail to designate successor beneficiaries when they fill out these forms. If you have not already done so, you should designate successors to make sure that all bases are covered.
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We do everything we can to provide educational opportunities, because we sincerely want people to take the right steps to preserve their legacies. There is a lot of material on this website you can access, and we also offer webinars on an ongoing basis.
You can learn a lot if you join us for one of these sessions, and it could not be any more convenient. To see the dates, head over to our webinar page and follow the simple instructions to register for the session that fits into your schedule.
Need Help Now?
If you have already learned enough to know that you are ready to work with a Hilton Head, SC attorney to put an estate plan in place, you can set the wheels in motion right now. We can be reached by phone at 843-815-8580, and you can fill out our contact form if you would like to send us a message.