Why is an estate plan important?
Lori Ashmore Peters
When we say an estate plan, it’s your will…
Your will is the document that says “I want my husband to collect all of my assets and I want my assets distributed to my husband and children.
It’s his job to make sure that is accomplished.
But we also do the other documents…we have your Power of Attorney, Statutory Durable Power of Attorney which is a Power of Attorney for your finances. What that says is if you’re incapacitated for any reason, or if you’re not able to make your own decisions, who do you want to step into your shoes to make those decisions…?
If you do not have that document in place, it’s a judge that decides who makes those decisions on your behalf.
We also have a Power of Attorney for Healthcare.
Again, if you’re unable to make your own decisions…who do you want to make your own decisions…who do you want to make your medical decisions on your behalf?
If you need surgery, if you need medication, if you cannot make those decisions for yourself, you want to be the one who controls who makes those decisions for you…you don’t want the judge to make that determination.
We also have the Directive to Physicians (also known as the Living Will)…that’s the document that says whether you want to be hooked up to any life support, or what life-sustaining measures or treatments you want to maintain your life.
We also have HIPAA Authorization — we all have our right to privacy of our medical records and I completely agree with that, but there are some instances where you might not be able to give that consent to the doctor or the hospital to release your medical records — with this document (called the HIPAA Authorization) you’re letting the doctor and the hospital know who the people are that can get to those medical records.
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