It is important for individuals to properly plan the end of their lives. There are many critical estate planning tools that should potentially be used during this planning process. While an estate planning attorney can help individuals navigate each of these issues, it is important for people to understand what each of these documents are and why they are very important. This article will review four of the most important end of life documents that individuals should consider creating with the assistance of a strong estate planning attorney.
Document # 1 – Advance Care Directives
These documents place in writing the desires that a person has about their health care to make sure that their wishes are followed in the event that they become incapacitated or in any way are unable to communicate them. These documents are very important because they make sure that patients who are permanently unconscious or terminally ill receive the care they deserve.
Document # 2 – Durable Power of Attorney
These documents point another individual to represent a person in areas related to business, financial matters, and legal matters if the person becomes incapacitated. These documents are important because if a person is incapacitated by an an accident or illness, a durable power of attorney allows the representative to quickly act on the incapacitated person’s behalf.
Document # 3 – Health Care Representatives
Similar to durable powers of attorney, these documents allow an individual to act on a person’s behalf to make healthcare decisions in the event that person becomes unable to do so. These documents allow individuals to authorize a person’s admission or discharge from a hospital, review health records, and make decisions about life-sustaining medical procedures. The importance of these documents is that they offer individuals the comfort of knowing that their plans concerning medical procedures will be carried out.
Document # 4 – Trusts and Wills and Last Testaments
These estate planning tools put into writing the beneficiaries that will receive a person’s assets if they become incapacitated. One of the many benefits offered by these estate planning tools is that they avoid or eliminate taxes that arise when a person dies. If a person dies without a will or trust, law the state of has a prearranged system for determining how assets are distributed.
Document # 5 – Life Insurance
Life insurance involves insurance companies that pay an established amount of money to a beneficiary when the policyholder dies. Insurance companies are able to offer these payments because they receive regular payments in the form of premiums. While not available to all individuals, these policies can be particularly helpful to individuals who are able to qualify.