Be honest with yourself right now: When was the last time you reviewed your estate plan? An even better question, do you have an estate plan? If you can’t answer either of these questions with certainty; don’t worry, you’re not alone. According to a recent survey, only 42 percent of U.S. adults currently have estate planning documents such as a will or living trust.
Estate planning doesn't HAVE to be complicated. At its very basics, a simple estate plan will often include durable power of attorney, healthcare power of attorney, and last will and testament. These documents are often shrouded in mystery. What even is a durable power of attorney? How does it differ from a living will?
A durable power of attorney remains in control of certain legal, property, or financial matters specifically spelled out in the agreement. In other words, almost everything NOT covered by a healthcare power of attorney (which we will discuss later) is covered under a durable power of attorney. A living will is also known as an advance medical directive. These documents essentially govern what the grantor wants their end of life medical decisions to look like by doctors. Some people choose to hold onto life no matter what, while some wish to die rather than be kept alive by machines and modern medicine.
Most of the time, the decisions that can be discussed in a living will can also be addressed in a medical power of attorney. The medical power of attorney is a simple document that delegates an individual the right to make decisions related to the healthcare of the grantor. While some people opt for the medical power of attorney to begin instantly, they also may opt for the power of attorney to take place upon some qualified event.
For some reason, estate planning is often something seen for the “elite” or “people with something to lose”. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. At the very least, a simple estate plan provides people with a peace of mind in knowing that their medical and financial matters will be taken care of. At the very least, we encourage a last will and testament, medical power of attorney, and durable power of attorney. More complicated cases may require extensive planning that includes trusts and other tools. Rest assured, the professionals at Hampleman Law are knowledgeable with estates both large and small. Contact us for an initial consultation, today!