While people once thought of estate planning as something best left to the elderly, the truth is that adults of every age should have a clear plan for the future. This includes the creation of a healthcare directive, a living trust, and a will—all of which can and should be done with the assistance of an experienced lawyer. From how to get a birth certificate to healthcare directives, you’ll learn it all right here.
Healthcare directives generally encompass living wills and healthcare proxies. Your living will explicitly outlines your wishes for your care in certain medical circumstances. For example, your lawyer will discuss your desire to receive tube feedings, be put on heart or lung machines or ventilators, or your desire to be put on other life-support devices. You will also discuss how long you may desire to be kept on these types of devices given your current health or the circumstances of your illness or injury. What you may include varies from state-to-state.
It’s important to understand that your living will only applies to life-or-death situations. What you write in your living will does not prevent your doctors from giving you medications or treatments that will keep you comfortable, and they are not used to make decisions that do not impact your immediate situation regarding continued life.
Your healthcare proxy, sometimes referred to as your healthcare power of attorney or a healthcare surrogate, is the person you designate to speak for you and make decisions regarding your care in the event you are unable. This person is usually consulted if you are not conscious or if your mental state is altered in such a way that you can no longer make your own decisions.
Living Trusts and Wills
The creation of a living trust and a will are generally handled together. The living trust is a legal document that gives you the ability to allow others to manage or distribute your property when you are unable to do so on your own. You are able to transfer property in and out of the living trust while you are alive, all the while maintaining complete control of the property while you are alive. Living trusts are often used to prepare for the distribution of life insurance policies, property titles and deeds, stock certificates, and other valuable assets.
When you discuss your living trust with your lawyer, you will want to include a list of potential beneficiaries, considering not only family and friends but charitable organizations as well. You’ll want to talk to your lawyer about the beneficiaries listed on insurance policies versus those listed within your living trust to avoid complications and arguments after your death. You’ll also need to choose a successor trustee to take over the trust and handle your affairs.
While the living trust seems similar, you do need to have a will as well. The will is important because it will give direction as to what to do with any property you did not transfer into your trust while living.
Estate planning isn’t only for the wealthy or the elderly. A sudden accident or illness could alter your life quickly. All of these documents can be changed over time, as needed, but those that don’t exist can’t be created after you pass away. Contact FastBirthCertificates.com for more information on getting your personal documents sorted out.