It is important to understand the vital importance to estate planning for the future security of your family members and members. We frequently receive requests from perspective clients to prepare a living trust for their estate planning needs. But there is so much more that goes into a complete estate plan. Complete estate planning involves more than dealing with death and finances. Estate planning needs to deal with any medical crisis during your life as well.
1. A Medical Power of Attorney with HIPAA Consent is necessary to allow your family and/or loved ones to communicate with and make decisions for you with hospital and doctors during times of your medical crisis. Spouses and family members do not have an automatic right to communicate and make decisions for you. A Medical Power of Attorney with HIPAA Consent will authorize your designated Agent to communicate and assist during times of such medical crisis.
2. A General Power of Attorney is also extremely important to a complete estate planning. This document is again an important to deal with financial and administration issues that arise during your life if you become incapacitated and unable to handle your financial and daily affairs. Your loved ones who you desire to handle your general affairs if you cannot act needs to be able to access your bank account(s) to pay bills for you. They need to be able to access your mail (forwarding mail) in order to pay bills. In addition, if you require long term care/assisted living, you need to have an authorized agent to act as an advocate on your behalf. Without a complete and properly drafted General Durable Power of Attorney, your family members may be required to open a probate proceeding during your life, called a guardianship/conservatorship action to give them the power and authority to act for you. A General Power of Attorney will avoid this need. But not all Power of Attorneys are complete. Though our forty-two (42) years of estate planning and estate administration, we have had to deal with many estate administration issues for our clients later in their lives, such as selling or transferring title to an automobile, accessing funds at a bank to pay bills, dealing with mortgage companies, forwarding mail, etc. These life issues will arise and be a problem for your successor authorized agents if not properly and completely dealt with in your estate planning documents (General Power of Attorney). This will avoid court.
3. Make sure you create an asset worksheet listing in detail all your assets, bank accounts, investment accounts, accountant and lawyer contact information, and beneficiaries’ names and contact information. We have a Confidential Estate Questionnaire that allows you to set out in detail all important information that your successors/family members will need in the future. This is made available to you at no charge or commitment by visiting our website at Estate Questionnaire – Tucson Estate Planning | Living Trusts | 520) 797-1400, ALTA Estate Services In times of medical crisis, if you are not available, the Confidential Estate Questionnaire will make it so much easier for your family members to handle your estate administration by providing them with important contact information and all asset financial information, needed to administer your estate.
4. Teamwork and coordination between you, your designated Successor Trustees under your Living Trust and Medical Power of Attorney and your financial and legal professionals in advance of any life crisis is just as important as drafting these estate planning documents in the first instance. Your spouse, family members, and designated Agents will most likely not know how to handle and proceed as your Agents in times of crisis and need. ALTA Estate Services offers a free “Emergency Hotline Program” to assist you, your spouse, and designated Agents with guidance and assistance in the use of these estate planning documents when the need arises. Planning now for future estate administration needs in times of crisis solves many critical issues. We offer this service at no charge to our clients. We will walk your Agent through the steps necessary to administer your health issues and estate asset administration. We will forward the Medical Power of Attorney to the hospital to open communication between medical staff and your family members. This is not an easy process especially during times of COVID. Without our assistance, communication with medical staff may prove to be difficult. We can open this communication through our Emergency Hotline Program. Visit Emergency Hotline – Tucson Estate Planning | Living Trusts | 520) 797-1400, ALTA Estate Services to learn more about this additional service we provide at no charge to you or your family members, in times of need.
For more information on your estate planning strategy and a Free Consultation, please contact us by clicking the links below, or by calling (520) 797-1400.