As estate planning attorneys, we do many things for clients, including:
- Helping clients plan for their disability by assigning an agent who will manage their assets and care for them when they are unable to do so themselves
- Provide guidance on what will happen with their worldly belongings when they die.
- Support clients as they transfer their family’s legacy to the next generation
- We advise clients on the manner in which to leave assets to their children or other beneficiaries to reduce taxes and protect those assets for their intended purpose, such as education, retirement, or other goals, and to protect those assets from future ex-spouses and other potential predators and creditors.
However, perhaps the most important thing we do for clients is help them face their own mortality and make decisions regarding end-of-life care. A recent article in the New York Times examined this topic. The article explained how decisions regarding end-of-life care can be emotionally (and politically) charged. We do clients a great service by helping them address these issues well in advance by helping them decide who they wish to make care decisions and by what guiding principles.
Often, it is tempting to think that the assistance we provide clients relating to the transfer and preservation of their wealth is the most important thing we do. But, when a client and their family are facing end-of-life decisions, having everything in order so they can focus on relationships and easing the transition, the true value of our help becomes clear.
The basic documents to have in place to allow a loved one to make end of life decisions for you are an updated Financial Power of Attorney, both the Maryland Statutory Form and Supplemental Form, a Health Care Power of Attorney, a Living Will, and a HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) Release Form.
Putting these important documents in place will provide peace of mind to you and your loved ones.