We’ve all heard that every adult needs an estate plan. But what does that mean? What’s are the essentials or the bare basics that you need to protect you and/or your family? T.S. Eliot memorably wrote in The Four Quartets: “What we call the beginning is often the end/And to make and end is to make a beginning./The end is where we start from.” So what’s your estate planning end game? Start from there to figure out how to get there.
An estate plan includes 4 basic documents:
- Living will
- Durable financial power of attorney
- Durable medical power of attorney
– Tells your executor/trustee how to handle your property and who gets what when you die
-Pour over wills go with a trust
-Married couples can have a joint trust or individual trusts
-Trusts can be separate from your will or integrated with it
2. Living will
-Directions about your end of life choices (e.g. CPR and life support) to avoid a situation like Nancy Cruzan or Terri Schiavo
– Customized based on your faith, convictions, and moral beliefs
3. Durable medical power of attorney
– Gives spouse or child power to make medical decisions (e.g. authorize surgery if you’re injured in a car wreck)
– Gives access to medical records protected by HIPAA and privacy laws
4. Durable financial power of attorney
– Gives spouse or child power to pay bills on your behalf and handle other financial affairs for you
– Digital estate planning – online account, email, photo, Facebook, LinkedIn access
-Elder law – Medicaid, gift, Veteran’s benefits, and Social Security disability planning
If my law firm, Johnson Law KC LLC, can help you or your family with your Kansas or Missouri estate planning needs, call me (913-707-9220) or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a free, convenient appointment.
(c) 2013, Stephen M. Johnson, Esq.