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Five Essential End of Life Documents That You Should Have Organized

December 15, 2016

Filed under: Advanced Directives — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Many people can share a horror story about a loved one who did not have appropriate end of life care documents set up when an incapacitating event occurred.

In order to avoid a crisis in your own family, it is a good idea to think about having these documents for yourself as well as for aging parents. These include:

  • Durable power of attorney which typically will go into effect immediately and give an agent the authority to manage someone’s finances if he or she becomes incapacitated.
  • Medical information release which gives your parents’ doctors permissions to share medical records with you. Without a standardized release form, it’s a good idea for your parent to get one from their primary care physician and any specialists.
  • A healthcare proxy. This may also be referred to as a power of attorney for healthcare and this gives an authorized agent the right to make medical decisions on behalf of someone else if that person is unable to do so. This is also an important opportunity to consider a conversation about what the other person considers to be an acceptable quality of life.
  • A living will which allows the authorizing person to detail written guidance about the kind of treatment that the parent wants or doesn’t want in the event of a terminal illness.

Do not hesitate to set up a meeting with an experienced New Jersey estate planning attorney to learn more about ow you and your parents can benefit from planning opportunities.

 

Guarding Against Incapacity: Documents You Need

October 17, 2016

Filed under: Advanced Directives — Neel Shah @ 1:19 pm

It’s Estate Planning Awareness Week and a good opportunity to remember that estate planning is about more than what happens when you pass away. It’s also about what happens during your lifetime. Should you become suddenly incapacitated, would you have someone to step in and help with your affairs? 

Two key documents are worth considering in this process. When you plan properly, you can help to protect your assets and estate while you’re still alive. The first document to consider is a durable power of attorney. This allows someone else to manage your affairs if you were to become unable to do so as a result of a disability or other issue. This person can pay bills for you, direct investments, or file taxes when you are unable to do it.

The other document you should keep in your arsenal is an advanced medical directive. This means someone else can make medical decisions on your behalf. You can talk more with your New Jersey estate planning lawyer about how these work and how to choose someone to serve in this role.

3 Steps for Baby Boomers Without a Plan

January 30, 2014

Filed under: Advanced Directives,Baby Boomer Generation,Living Will,Power of Attorney,Trusts,Wills — Neel Shah @ 7:31 pm

While every mentally competent individual over the age of 18 should have an estate plan in place, it is especially important that Baby Boomers without a plan begin to put something together. A recent article offers several estate-planning strategies for baby boomers to begin planning:

Last Will And Testament

(Photo credit: Ken_Mayer)

    1. Create a Will and Trust: No matter what type of estate planning scheme a person employs, he or she should incorporate a will into that scheme. Within a will, a person can designate a guardian for his or her minor children, as well as the distribution of personal items such as heirlooms and valuable items.

    2. Designate a Power of Attorney: A power of attorney is a vital document for any estate plan, because it allows you to designate a person to handle your financial and legal affairs should you be involved in an accident.

    3. Create a Health-Care Power of Attorney and Living Will: Just as a power of attorney allows an individual to designate the person who will handle his or her financial and legal affairs in the event of an accident or emergency, a health care power of attorney allows an individual to designate the person who will make medical decisions on his or her behalf.

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Auld Lang Syne: Talk Estate Planning This New Year

January 16, 2014

Filed under: Advanced Directives,Charitable Giving,Distribution of Assets,Estate Planning,Inheritance — Neel Shah @ 7:05 pm

Family Discussion

(Photo credit: LRJ53)

While it is not the first item on everyone’s resolution list, the New Year is a great time to discuss your estate plan with your family. As a recent article explains, the benefits of having the estate planning discussion far outweigh the problems that may otherwise arise out of the desire to avoid a sometimes awkward or difficult conversation.

First, discussing estate planning provides your family with a sense of empowerment because it allows your family members to take control of your family’s collective future. Without this element of control, many aspects of your estate plan are inevitably left to chance.

Additionally, through discussing estate planning, you can pass on your family values. For example, discussing charitable giving is a great way to talk about the causes you are passionate about. Additionally, you can discuss the stories behind sentimental objects and why you are distributing them as you have selected.

Finally, discussing your estate plan with your family helps to prepare the family, should you become incapacitated. Your family will be better able to carry out your wishes and tend to your affairs if they know what your plan for incapacity is and how you would like them to implement it.

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Give Serious Consideration to End of Life Decisions

November 21, 2013

Filed under: Advanced Directives,Elder Law,Living Will,Long Term Care — Neel Shah @ 8:59 pm

One major part of estate planning is determining what kind of care, if any, you would like to receive at the end of your life. Although most people would rather not think about the end of their life, a recent article explains the importance of giving serious consideration to end-of-life care.

If you have thought about what type of care, if any, you would like to receive at the end of your life, it is important to complete an advanced medical directive and a medical power of attorney. These documents will allow you to put these desires in writing so that medical staff will be aware of your wishes when you cannot otherwise communicate with them. Additionally, they allow you to select the person who you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf.

Sample Virginia Durable Do Not Resuscitate Ord...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One common type of advanced directive is a do not resuscitate order (“DNR”). A DNR advises medical staff not to take life-saving measures in the event that death is imminent. If you have a DNR, it is important to keep it in an easily accessible location, and inform your family and doctors of its existence. Importantly, an advanced directive that directs medical staff not to prolong the dying process does not withhold medicine and other procedures meant to keep you comfortable during the dying process.

Conversely, you could also complete a prolonging procedure declaration. This document instructs medical staff to do everything they can to delay death, even when it is imminent.

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