Estate planning isn’t something you should put off until the last minute. However, many families do wait and wish they’d made plans months or years earlier. If your parents have been putting it off, talk to them about the importance of wills, powers of attorney, and other protective measures offered with an estate plan.
Often, people who are not married, do not have children, or have no assets feel that an estate plan is unnecessary. What they’re forgetting is that estate planning covers more than inheritances and finances. It’s also important when it comes to healthcare matters.
Three Basic Documents Make Up an Estate Plan
In a basic estate plan, an elder law attorney will help your parents draw up an advance directive, a durable power of attorney, and a last will and testament. Take a closer look at what each of these documents covers.
#1 – Advance Directive: This is a legal document that tells others what types of medical care you want if you are permanently or temporarily unable to speak for yourself. It usually covers medical treatments like feeding tubes, ventilators, DNR orders, pain management, etc.
#2 – Durable Power of Attorney: A durable POA names a person and maybe a few back-up choices to serve as your agent if you cannot speak for yourself. The agent follows the guidelines you’ve given in the advance directive and informs doctors what treatments you’d want to be given to you. You also should make sure your agent is aware of any allergies, current prescription medications, or past surgeries/bone fractures you’ve had to make it easier to provide answers in the ICU or ER.
#3 – Last Will and Testament: This document is your instructions on how your assets should be divided after your death. It covers who gets your house or if your house should be sold. It discusses who you want to care for any minor children or disabled adult dependents. It also names an individual to be the executor of your will.
Some Estate Plans Are More Intricate Than Others
If your parents own a business or have a lot of wealth, they may need a more intricate will. That’s why it’s always best to have an attorney help with estate planning. If there are bound to be arguments over who gets what and why someone was left nothing, current legal documents become critical in a court battle.
Make sure your parents see an elder law attorney, have an estate plan set up, and keep a notarized copy in their safe or safe deposit box. When you’re grieving or in shock after an unexpected medical event, the last thing you want to do is learn that there is no estate plan and that the courts get to decide what happens next.
If you or a loved need assistance with Elder Law in Centerpoint, AL contact Nolan Elder Law & Estate Planning today. (205) 390-0101