25 Dec Incorporating end-of-life documentation into your estate plan
No one likes to think of a time when they will be unable to handle their own affairs. But leaving loved ones to tackle these difficult issues during an emotional time is something that can be avoided with the creation of an estate plan. An estate plan should address end-of-life issues including durable powers of attorney, health care proxies, a letter of competency and any other documentation that are key to fulfillment of a person’s wishes. Let’s review what these mean and why they are important components of an estate plan.
Durable powers of attorney
A durable power of attorney designates a person to act on your behalf should you become incapacitated and unable to act on your own behalf while you are still living. This person is then able to make financial decisions on your behalf. Durable powers of attorney can be granted to a trusted relative or a professional, such as an attorney.
Health care proxies
A health care proxy will designate a health care agent and an alternate (typically a spouse or an adult child) to carry out your end of life wishes regarding your health care, including whether you wish for any extraordinary measures to prolong life and whether you wish to be an organ donor. It can also include any specific medical procedures you want or do not want if you become terminally ill and are unable to make medical decisions about your own care.
Letter of competency
Individuals considering making any major changes to a will may obtain a letter of competency from a doctor that attests to the individual’s mental capacity and competency at the time changes are made to the will. This may mitigate any future disputes of the will by heirs who are unhappy with the changes and may claim the decedent was not competent when making the change to the will.
You want to leave your loved ones with your legacy, not burden them with making end-of-life decisions if you become unable to do so. Barsh & Cohen’s legal experts will work with you closely to create an estate plan incorporating these important end-of-life documents. We handle simple as well as complex estate plans. Contact us to discuss an estate plan to protect your family and assets.