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Complete Estate Planning: Additional Tools You May Wish to Use

Posted on in Estate Planning Blog

Lombard estate planning lawyerA last will and testament can serve as the backbone to any estate plan. It can be used to determine who will become the executor of your estate, who will inherit what, and who will assume guardianship of your children or your pets. But, there are some things that a will cannot do. In some cases, the limitations are set by state laws or federal regulations. However, there are also situations in which additional documents can be used to ensure your final wishes are carried out.   

When Incapacitation Precedes Death

Wills are meant to cover what happens after your death, but not all accidents, illnesses, or chronic health conditions lead to immediate death. When incapacitation occurs, whether it is short-term or long-term, physicians will follow standard protocols. If you have wishes that deviate from that standard of care, additional estate planning documents are needed. Examples include:   

  • Power of Attorney for Health Care: Also called a medical proxy, giving someone power of attorney over your health care allows him or her to make medical decisions for you, should you become incapacitated.

  • Living Will: A living will is an advance medical directive that outlines the medical treatments and measures that you do and do not want, in the event that you become incapacitated (ventilators, CPR, etc.).

  • HIPAA Release Form: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protects the privacy of your health information. You will likely need to sign a privacy release to enable pre-determined individuals, such as your medical power of attorney, to have access to your medical records.

Handling Your Finances before Death

Some conditions can lead to long-term incapacitation. If you are aware of the condition prior to your incapacitation (such as receiving an Alzheimer’s diagnosis), you may wish to assign a power of attorney for property during the early stages. This will ensure a trusted individual is handling your medical bills and finances in the days, weeks, or months leading up to your death. You may also consider setting up trusts to facilitate the passing down of your assets to your chosen heirs.

After-Death Matters Not Covered in a Final Will and Testament

Many individuals have special wishes regarding their funeral services. Maybe they wish to be cremated instead of buried, or they would like to have a special song played during the services. In these instances, a letter of instruction can be written. While it is not a legal document, it is something that can be added to a comprehensive estate plan to ensure that your loved ones are able to fully carry out your final wishes. 

A Lombard Estate Planning Lawyer Can Offer Qualified Help

It is never too early to start an estate plan. Whether you are young or old, want just a final will, or wish to have your advanced directives covered in the event of an accident, the team at A. Traub & Associates can help. To schedule a confidential consultation with a DuPage County estate planning attorney, call 630-426-0196 today.

 

Sources:

https://www.thebalance.com/key-elements-estate-planning-1289907

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/07/estate_plan_checklist.asp

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