Friday, October 26, 2012

Estate Planning Is For Everyone

      There a giant misconception that estate planning is just for the rich. Growing up, before becoming an attorney I used to have a false belief of estate planning. When I heard “estate planning”, I envisioned some millionaire sitting down with an attorney coming up with ways of how to hide money in Island countries and writing five hundred page trust documents that keep his money out of the hands of the government forever while showering his family with wealth.

      I could not have been more wrong. Estate planning is making sure that not only are your assets distributed in the way you wish when you pass, but that the end of your life wishes are emphatically published to all so that there is no confusion, strife, or bickering among your family.

      The primary instruments that are used for estate planning are: Will, Power of Attorney, Power of Attorney for Health Care, and a Living Will.

       The Powers of Attorney give a person who you appoint the power to take care of your finances and health care decisions if you reach a state of mental incapacity, whether from illness or injury. You can put restrictions on your attorney-in-fact or give him free reign. Usually this power goes to a spouse or other family member.

     The Living Will, also known as an “affirmative directive”, authorizes, or does not authorize, the withholding of artificially provided food, water, or other nourishment or fluids if the patient reaches a terminal state with no reasonable medical expectation of recovery.

       All of these documents are affordable for everyone, but so many people do not have these drawn up either because of the misconception that “Estate Planning” is for the very wealthy, or do not like to dwell on the end of their life. Make the smart decision and call an estate planning to get these documents executed to prevent hassles and inter-family strife at the end of your life.

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