A huge part of making sure that your family is protected in the event of the unexpected involves having a proper estate plan in place. While you might have taken care of the obvious steps – creating a will, properly titling property, or establishing a trust – planning for the possibility of becoming disabled or incapacitated doesn’t always cross people’s minds.
But it’s an important possibility to keep in mind, and one where you certainly don’t want to be caught unprepared. For help in creating an estate plan to protect you and your loved ones, call or contact our estate planning attorneys at Murphy & Berglund, PLLC. And check out some of our helpful tips below on what you can do to protect all possibilities for your future.
We recommend that your estate planning include properly drafted and clearly established estate planning documents that address both your property and your person in the event you become incapacitated. These provisions should include: Durable Power of Attorney, Designation of Health Care Surrogate, a Living Will, and a HIPAA Release. To discuss this aspect of your estate plan further, contact one of our estate planning lawyers.
If you ever become incapacitated, you should at least have a Durable Power of Attorney which appoints someone to handle your financial and legal decisions. A fully-funded, revocable trust can ensure that you and your property will be cared for as you desire, pursuant to the highest duty under the law. A Trustee is also crucial, but the Trustee cannot initiate or defend a lawsuit, nor can they talk to your insurance company for an explanation of benefits, so it’s prudent to have both!
We also recommend that you appoint someone to make decisions towards your health care by executing a Designation of Health Care Surrogate. This will ensure that, if you’re unable to express your wishes yourself, the person you trust the most can step in to be your voice during that time.
In all of our Designations of Health Care Surrogates, we add HIPAA language and authorizations in the body of the document. Without a written authorization from the patient, a healthcare provider cannot disclose medical information to anyone other than the patient or the person appointed under state law to make healthcare decisions for the patient. The inability to receive information about a loved one could become very troubling when the information concerns treatment as part of long-term care. Our estate planning attorneys also create a stand-alone HIPAA Release that extends after your passing for two (2) years in case your medical records are needed after your death (as in the case of a wrongful death or medical malpractice action).
Contact Murphy & Berglund today if you need further assistance with regards to estate planning.