During the estate planning process you and your estate planning attorney identify your goals, concerns, and needs; then, an estate plan is designed based upon the choices you make. The attorney drafts your estate planning documents based upon the results of this process; and, once you sign the documents, your estate plan is in place. Your estate plan is updated as time goes by to reflect changes in the law, your personal situation, and improved estate planning techniques. All of this effort results in a detailed instruction book so that if at any time you are unable to act on your own behalf, your trusted helpers know what to do and have the authority to do it.
Your Trust: Your successor trustees will find specific instructions in your revocable living trust document; they’ll know what to do should be become disabled and when you die. In addition to instructions, your trust grants authority to act.
Your Living Will and Other Advanced Medical Directives: You can be a detailed and explicit as you choose in advanced medical directives, providing instruction as to exactly what medical treatment you want and don’t want, if you are unable to give or withhold informed consent.
Your Financial Power of Attorney: Your financial power of attorney provides instruction indicating who is to manage your assets, pay your bills, and handle personal business matters pursuant to the instructions in your power of attorney document.
Your Will: Your will contains three main instructions. First, you will instructs who is to get your assets after your death; second, your will instructs who will serve as your personal representative (i.e. executor) after your death; and, third, your will instructs who will raise your minor children.
Your Organ Donation Authorization: Your organ donation authorization instructs your family members and medical personnel that you wish to have your organs and tissues donated to save or improve the lives of others after your death.
If you haven’t yet provided explicit instructions for your trusted helpers in the form of an estate plan, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney.
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