In this decade, there are certain documents that are essential to your healthcare and estate planning. By taking the time to create these documents, you are legally establishing the individuals to whom your assets will be left and who will be responsible for making your important medical decisions, should you be unable to make them for yourself.
LIST OF ESSENTIAL DOCUMENTS
1. HEALTH CARE PROXY/DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR HEALTH CARE and HIPPA DISCLOSURE
2. ADVANCED DIRECTIVE/LIVING WILL
3. GENERAL DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY
4. IRREVOCABLE LIFE INSURANCE TRUST (ILIT)
5. LAST WILL & TESTAMENT
1. A DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR HEALTH CARE, also known as a HEALTH CARE PROXY, grants authority to a designated individual, WHO YOU APPOINT IN THIS DOCUMENT, to make health care decisions for you, should you be unable to make them for yourself, as if they were you. This document applies to ALL medical decisions.
A HIPAA DISCLOSURE is a document that directs medical care providers to treat the designated individual, who you have appointed in this document, as if they were the patient themselves. The personal representative, in his capacity under the law, is granted the authority to make medical decisions for the patient and receive all related medical information.
2. An ADVANCED DIRECTIVE, also called a LIVING WILL, allows you the opportunity to express end-of-life decisions "ahead of time." The purpose of an advanced directive is to tell your doctor or medical-care provider what to do with respect to end-of life decisions, such as whether or not to administer life-sustaining treatment, and if so, for how long, etc.
3. A GENERAL DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY is a legal instrument that is used to delegate legal authority to another. The person who signs a Power of Attorney is called the Principal. The Power of Attorney gives legal authority to another person, called an Agent or Attorney-in-Fact, to make property, financial and other legal decisions for the Principal.
A "DURABLE" POWER OF ATTORNEY enables the Agent to act for the Principal even after the Principal is not mentally competent or physically able to make decisions and is effective until it is revoked by the Principal, or until the Principal's death. By appointing an Agent under a "Durable" Power of Attorney, the Principal is setting up a procedure for the management of his or her financial affairs in the event of incompetence or disability.
4. An IRREVOCABLE LIFE INSURANCE TRUST (ILIT,) is essentially a trust created for the benefit of your spouse and/or children. The overall purpose of the ILIT is to establish beneficiaries, to whom the ownership of your life insurance policy WILL TRANSFER OUTSIDE OF YOUR ESTATE.
5. A LAST WILL & TESTAMENT is a legal document that plans the distribution of your estate (including real and personal property) following your death. The simplest way to ensure that your funds, property and personal effects will be distributed after your death according to your wishes is to prepare a last will and testament. It can be completed by any person over the age of 18 who is mentally capable.