Every year I vow to start my Christmas shopping earlier. If I am organized and purchase all of my gifts early, I can enjoy a stress-free holiday season. I failed again this year. I know preparing for the holiday season early will make it more enjoyable. I also know that I must not only purchase the gifts but wrap them in the pretty package….because what good is all of my hard work if it’s not packaged?!
Similarly – an estate plan must be packaged in such a way that will provide you with the utmost protection and assure that your legacy lives on well beyond. Like the old adage says, failing to plan is planning to fail and it’s no different with respect to Estate Planning. This article touches on three important pieces of an estate plan: The importance of a trust, establishing a power of attorney and a HIPPA authorization to ensure you and your loved ones are protected.
Most families who own a home (and other real estate) should start their estate planning off with a Trust. A trust not only allows your assets to be distributed per your wishes if you become incapacitated or once you pass away, it also protects your estate from creditors and can offer tax protections among many other important items.
In addition to a trust, we recommend establishing a power of attorney, advanced health care directive and putting a HIPAA authorization in place. Your power of attorney will come into effect in the event you become incapacitated. We position it to assist you should you be unable to pay your bills, make medical decisions, etc. An advanced health care directive will layout and detail your “end of life” wishes and give your chosen person the knowledge and ability to direct your health care providers to provide you with your chosen level of health care. Finally, a HIPAA authorization will give your agent the power to access your medical records.
So, who should you choose as my Successor Trustee?
At Voorhees & Ratzlaff Law Group, LLP our initiative is to help educate our current and prospective customers on the importance of planning ahead, designing, and implementing the proper protection against the inevitable.