A consumer report said that just 7% of those ages 19 to 29 have an advance directive for health care emergencies. Even fewer have a will. News4Jax’s recent article entitled “Are your affairs in order? Things to sign now to save your loved ones later” acknowledges that estate planning is a little boring, difficult and will require an experienced estate planning attorney to finalize everything.
Nonetheless, this is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves or our families.
So, are your affairs in order?
Remember that your estate is essentially everything you own. If it’s not protected, it could be taken away from your loved ones.
Two important documents to have are a living will and a health care proxy or power of attorney. These documents allow you to designate the individual with the authority to speak for you, if you cannot speak for yourself.
A HIPPA authorization also lets your designated agent speak with your healthcare providers and have access to your medical records.
Another important form is a financial power of attorney. This document allows you to appoint someone you trust to handle your bills, contracts and assets. This document must be signed and notarized.
Next are payable on death (POD) and transfer on death (TOD) designations, which allow your personal or investment bank account balances be given automatically to anyone you designate free of probate.
Switching gears, you are going to need a digital asset inventory. This will contain your entire online presence and include all of your accounts, logins, passwords, social media and professional profiles. This also includes a list of everything you have on autopay.
Lastly, you need a last will and testament through which you name an executor (or a personal representative) to handle your final postmortem affairs. But a will doesn’t keep assets out of probate, so make certain that you have all of those other documents ready.
One more item: you can draft a personal property memorandum that lists the beneficiaries of any sentimental, non-monetary, items.
Reference: News4Jax (Jan. 13, 2021) “Are your affairs in order? Things to sign now to save your loved ones later”
Suggested Key Terms: Elder Law Attorney, Estate Planning, Wills, Power of Attorney, Living Will, Healthcare Directive, HIPAA Waiver, Probate Attorney, Advance Directive