ARTICLE: 3 Important Documents to Start Your Estate Planning Journey

3 Important Documents to Start Your Estate Planning Journey

Maybe you’re not ready to create a comprehensive estate plan. Maybe you’re young, single, and healthy with no major assets yet. But even if it doesn’t seem like you need an estate plan at the moment, consider getting these three important documents in place. You can begin your estate planning journey now with these three documents, adding additional pieces in the future.

1. Health Care Proxy
A Health Care Proxy authorizes a person of your choosing to make your health care decisions should you become incapacitated. Combined with a living will, you’re empowered both to decide who will make your health care decisions if you’re unable to and to guide that person with a statement about your wishes.

Without this important document in place, it’s unclear who will make your health care decisions if you can’t. And, if there is a disagreement about your care, the decision may go to the court system for resolution. Naming a Health Care Proxy is especially important if you would want someone such as a best friend or long-term partner to make your healthcare decisions. The state usually looks to the spouse and family first.

2. Advanced Healthcare Directive
An Advanced Healthcare Directive (also known as a living will) is the second document you may want to have in place. With it, you’re able to give detailed guidance about your health care decisions that can be followed if you become incapacitated. With this directive in place, important medical decisions can be made based on the instructions you’re provided. For example, if you’re unconscious and a decision needs to be made about treating you—or not treating you—an Advanced Healthcare Directive will give some insight into how you would decide if you could.

Health care decisions are very challenging to make on someone else’s behalf. If you have an Advanced Healthcare Directive in place, you’ll not only be providing guidance, you’ll also be providing some peace of mind to the person you’ve placed in charge of managing those decisions.

3. Financial Power of Attorney
If you become incapacitated, rent and other obligations will keep coming due. Someone will need to manage your finances for you. With a financial Power of Attorney in place, you can appoint someone you trust to manage your finances on your behalf if you become incapacitated. This financial proxy has the authority to manage your financial accounts and make necessary decisions during your incapacity.

Work with a Corning Estate Planning Attorney
We at Roth Elder Law, PLLC will help you get these three important documents in place and be ready to help you as additional estate planning needs arise. Call us today to schedule an initial meeting at 607-962-6162 or complete this intake form and we’ll be in touch.

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We at Roth Elder Law, PLLC, believe in providing services in a way that clients can easily understand and meaningfully participate in designing and maintaining their estate plan for their loved ones, as well as be assured that their plan will be administered according to their wishes.