When done properly and with honest and open communication, estate planning can help avoid family conflict. Regardless of your estate’s size or the complexity of the situation, the proper planning can prevent heartaches and disputes for your loved ones you leave behind. Having the proper estate planning in place is essential for protecting you, your assets, and your loved ones.

Advanced Healthcare Directive

This specifies your healthcare preferences and will only be used when you are unable to communicate your wishes. Your medical providers and your family are made aware of the kinds of care and treatments you are willing to accept. You can also list who you want to take charge of your healthcare decisions if you are unable to communicate.

HIPAA Release Form

HIPAA was enacted by the federal government several years ago to protect healthcare information. The disadvantage to this law is that it has made it difficult for trusted friends or family members to take care of health insurance matters when someone is incapacitated. By having this form completed and ready to be used before necessary, you can allow individuals who are listed in your advanced healthcare directive or your power of attorney to access your healthcare information and deal with health insurance matters when you are unable to do so.

Power of Attorney

This appoints someone you trust to handle your financial affairs if you are unable to take care of them yourself or if you die. This can prevent conservatorship if you become incapacitated because you have someone prepared to act on your behalf. A durable or immediate power of attorney allows your representative to act immediately, while a springy power of attorney only gives your agents rights to represent you while you are incapacitated. Your estate planning attorney can help you make the right choice.

Living Trust

A living trust is preferred way that many people transfer assets upon their death. There is more confidentiality, less costs, more flexibility, and faster distribution if you use a living trust. Also, the chances of trust being contested are much less than those of a probated will. If you have a lot of wealth, a living trust can provide benefits in regards to estate tax. The disadvantage for a living trust can be that it is more expensive to establish and maintain.

Last Will and Testament

The most common way that people transfer their possessions is through a last will and testament. However, most wills must result in probate which can be expensive and timely. If you have real estate or modest assets, a living trust may be beneficial. Even if you have a living trust, you still need a will.

To discuss your estate planning needs or to get the proper documents in place, contact The Law Offices of Bridget Mackay today.

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