14 Jun Going On Vacation? Finish Your Estate Plan First
Packing up the family and heading out of town for vacation this summer? Make sure you finalize your estate plan first. While summer vacations are all about having fun at the beach or in the mountains, it’s important to remember that things don’t always go according to plan. Having an estate plan in place before hitting the road can ensure that you and your loved ones are protected from any bumps in the road. Here’s a rundown of the documents you should create before heading out of town this summer and examples of how they could help you:
Powers of Attorney
Before loading up the car or boarding a plane, make sure you create powers of attorney documents. Having a durable power of attorney and healthcare power of attorney in place protects you and your loved ones in the event you become incapacitated. If you’re incapacitated, you can’t make medical or financial decisions for yourself, so your powers of attorney will make those decisions on your behalf. Your durable POA makes your financial decisions while your medical POA making your medical decisions. Your powers of attorney can be the same person or two different people. It’s up to you.
How will these documents help you?
John Smith headed out of town to vacation in Hawaii. He was lounging underneath a coconut tree before suddenly being struck by a falling fruit. John’s head injury resulted in a coma. Luckily for John, he created estate planning documents before heading out of town. His sister, Jane, is both his durable and medical power of attorney. As John’s durable POA, Jane is able to use John’s checking account to pay off the bills he has piling up back home. If John hadn’t created his POA documents before heading out of town, his rent and credit card bills would be piling up while he’s in his coma.
A living will is an estate planning document used to plan for medical emergencies or terminal illness. In this document, you state whether or not you would like life-sustaining measures taken on your behalf. In a nut shell, your living will expresses your wishes when you are unable to express them yourself.
How will this document help you?
John is currently on life support and has been pronounced brain dead by the doctors in Hawaii. His living will clearly states that he would not like life sustaining measures to be taken on his behalf. With his living will instructions, John is removed from life support. John’s decision to create a living will before heading out of town also benefits his sister since she doesn’t have to worry about making the decision for him. He already made it himself.
Last Will and Testament
Though it has a similar name to a living will, a last will and testament is different because it becomes effective after death. A last will and testament is a customized document. It lists instructions for how you’d like your assets distributed among your heirs. You also appoint a personal representative, otherwise known as an executor, in this document. The executor is responsible for distributing your assets. A guardian is appointed here as well if you have children who are minors.
How will this document help you?
John owned a collection of valuable artworks, a home, and had several substantial bank accounts. Though he had no children of his own, he wanted his assets distributed equally among his sister and her children. With his will in place, John is able to ensure that each of his heirs received their fair share of items, just like he wanted.
How can Boyum Law Firm help you?
Boyum Law Firm can help you with your estate planning, Medicaid planning and probate law needs. To contact Boyum Law, click here.