One of the most highly cited goals of estate planning is staying in control; therefore, most estate plans are designed to keep you in control. To stay in control, you must have these 3 estate planning documents.
Your will keeps you in control of your children, the distribution of your property, and the settlement of your estate. If you die without a will, you have no control over these 3 subjects.
Instead, the court or state law is used to make these choices such as who raises your minor children, who gets your assets when you die, and who has access to all of your personal information and handles your estate.
2. Financial Power of Attorney/General Durable Power of Attorney
An up-to-date financial power of attorney is key to avoiding court interference and the loss of control over your day-to-day financial affairs. If you don’t have an agent named to step into your shoes when you become disabled, the court will interfere, freeze your assets, and appoint a conservator to take over your assets.
The conservator may or may not be a family member; it may be a local attorney, a stranger.
3. Health Care Power of Attorney (with HIPAA Release)
If you want to decide who will make health care decisions on your behalf, when you cannot, you must have a health care power of attorney. If you don’t name a health care agent, then either state law or the court will decide who makes those decisions for you.
These are the 3 most basic documents that keep you in control. Consult with a qualified estate planning attorney to get these essential documents in place. Please feel free to call our office at 858-792-5988 to schedule your estate planning consultation. We look forward to working with you.