Helping Clients Establish Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney & More
There are many different types of legal documents that can help you plan
how your affairs will be handled in the future. Many of these documents
have names that sound alike, so make sure you are getting the documents you want.
It is important to note that state laws differ on the requirements for
validity of many of these documents. In most cases, if these documents
are invalid, they are not even worth the paper on which they are written.
Thus, it is important to consult a life planning documents attorney like
ours from Castro & Co., who will be able to provide you with valid,
enforceable documents that will achieve your planning goals.
There are many important documents that can direct how your health and
property will be treated when you are no longer able or around to direct
Wills and Trusts, which let you name the person you want your money and property to go
to after you die.
Advance Directives, which let you make arrangements for your care if you become sick.
Two common types of advance directives are:
A Living Will, which gives you a say in your health care if you become too sick to make
your wishes known. In a living will, you can state what kind of care you
do or do not want. This can make it easier for family members to make
tough healthcare decisions for you.
A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (also known as a
Medical Power of Attorney) allows you to name the person you want to make medical decisions for
you if you cannot make them for yourself.
A necessary corollary to the Medical Power of Attorney is a
HIPAA Authorization. The HIPAA Authorization allows anyone named to make medical decisions
for you to get information from the doctors about your condition to be
able to make informed medical decisions on your behalf.
Additionally, many states recognize a
Declaration of Guardian. A Declaration of Guardian is somewhat different from the other documents
discussed as it does not have any legal effect without the involvement
of a court. Only a court may grant a guardianship because of the level
of rights lost by the person subject to the guardianship. However, the
Declaration of Guardian form provides an opportunity for you to communicate
who you believe would be the best choice as a guardian for you if you
ever need one. Also, the Declaration of Guardian form can be used to note
any individuals that may not be qualified to serve as guardian.
For legal matters, there are ways to give someone you trust the power to
act in your place:
General Power of Attorney lets you give someone else the authority to act on your behalf, but this
power will end if you are unable to make your own decisions. This short-term
power can be utilized for purposes of purchasing a home or vehicle on
your behalf in the event you need to unexpectedly be out of town at the
time of closing on such a purchase.
Durable Power of Attorney allows you to name someone to act on your behalf for any legal task, but
it stays in place if you become unable to make your own decisions. The
Durable Power of Attorney is more applicable to the long-term estate planning
context. The responsible person designated would have the ability to make
financial decisions on your behalf (such as paying bills, purchasing or
selling a vehicle, or managing an investment portfolio) in the event you
are still living, but unable to adequately manage financial decisions.
However, all power granted under a Durable Power of Attorney is immediately
revoked upon the death of the individual who granted the power.
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Contact Castro & Co. for Help
Estate planning is often a topic that people don’t think about until
late in life or circumstances in their lives incentivize them to act sooner.
However, even if you do not want to do a full estate plan you may consider
getting some of these documents in place to protect against the unknown.
It is important as you think about these documents and who you might name
that you take into account the powers being granted and converse with
these individuals about your plans.
At Castro & Co., our life planning documents attorneys can help you
establish the paperwork you need to rest assured that your property, assets,
and direction of future healthcare are secured.