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Which Estate Planning Bubble Are You In? Part 2

by | Nov 25, 2020 | Estate Planning

In the follow-up to my Bubble Blog…’s part 2, which admittedly is not EVERY question that we would go through at a consultation for estate planning but covers some of the bigger questions. If any of this information is useful information to you, consider setting up a consultation to meet with me to see what else you don’t know………..and can learn!

Question 1: Do you have proper powers of attorney? Do they spring automatically or only upon an occurrence?

A financial power of attorney will allow you to designate an individual to make financial and property decisions for you should you become unable to handle your own affairs. Most Pennsylvania financial power of attorneys spring immediately. Ours don’t. To find out why ours don’t, give us a call.

A healthcare power of attorney enables you to designate a person you trust to make medical decisions for you when you are otherwise unable to make decisions for yourself. They also give your agent the right to make decisions for you. In Pennsylvania, Healthcare Power of Attorneys are usually a combined document with a living will. Ours are not. Want to know why? Give us a call.

Question 2: Do I need a living will/advanced directive? What if the doctors kill me on purpose?

The short answer is…if the doctors kill you on purpose, then not only may they be criminally charged (for murder), but they could be civilly found liable for negligence. Doctors are in the business of saving lives not taking lives. Make sure that you have an advanced directive, also called a living will, which memorializes your wishes concerning your end of life care, such as whether you would like to receive life support if you are in a vegetative state or terminal condition. Pennsylvania focuses on “end-stage medical conditions”. Do you know what they are? If not, call us.

Question 3: Do I need insurance? If so, how much?

If you become incapacitated or die, it is important for your family or loved ones to have information about your insurance (such as life, health, disability, long-term care, etc.)so that claims can be filed. Life insurance is something we use in estate planning for many reasons. I can think of at least 5 reasons why life insurance is an important part of your estate plan. Curious what those reasons are? Call me.

Question 4: I use online banking. Can my power or attorney or executor log in to my accounts? 

Maybe. Presently under Pennsylvania law, digital assets aren’t addressed. That will be changing in January. When the change comes, you may want to update your estate planning documents. Regardless, you should always compile a list of all of your accounts and other important information, including bank and investment accounts, titles to vehicles and homes, credit card accounts or loans, digital accounts (such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter) and passwords, which may be needed to manage your property when you are incapacitated or settle your estate once you are gone. This information should be kept in a safe place and shared only with trusted family members or loved ones. Our plans already include digital assets rights.

 Question 5: Do I need to deal with other professionals?

One of the most important parts of estate planning is education. It doesn’t matter if you are a doctor, dentist or drama superstar, or door salesman, you need to actively engage with licensed professionals to get the most out of your estate plan. One of my favorite parts of helping people with their estate plans is setting them up with great referral sources who can help them with their issues.  

Question 6: Why do I need a HIPAA authorization as part of my estate planning?

You will be glad you have a HIPAA authorization in the event that your agent’s help is needed if you become disabled or die. The primary reason we add HIPAA authorizations to your estate plan is so that in case of emergency, family members can quickly get their loved ones medical records and not have to jump through hoops. HIPAA’s have a limited shelf life, so make sure you speak with an attorney to make sure it gets updated from time to time.

An experienced estate planning attorney can help you and your family members create an estate plan tailored to meet each of your unique needs and carry out your wishes—or help you update a pre-existing estate plan. We can provide each family member with guidance and information about the options available to them. We can help each of you put a plan in place that will prevent unnecessary stress, legal expenses and taxes, uneven inheritances, disputes between family members, and delays in passing life savings on to loved ones. In addition, it will provide you and your family members with the peace of mind that comes with knowing there are plans in place for your care if any of you become ill and that your wishes will be honored once you pass away. Call Rick Law today to set up an appointment with Charles Rick, Esquire or use the calendar link below to schedule an appointment for a free consultation.

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