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Saturday, June 26, 2021

Common Estate Planning Documents for Seniors

If you are a senior citizen, you should seriously consider creating an estate plan. Not only is an estate plan useful for leaving your assets to your loved ones, but it allows you to identify who will make financial and medical decisions on your behalf should you ever become incapacitated. In this article, we discuss the most common estate planning documents for seniors.

Will

The last will and testament is probably the most well-known type of estate planning document. A will dictates who will get your property after you pass away. A will is also useful because it allows you to choose a personal representative to handle everything having to do with your estate, including paying your final bills, distributing your possessions, filing your final tax return, and closing your accounts.

Revocable Trust

A revocable trust is an estate planning document that allows you to manage your assets during your lifetime and distribute the remaining assets after your death. The reason that this type of trust is revocable is that you may modify or terminate it during your lifetime (as long as you are not incapacitated). A revocable trust becomes more important the older you get. In addition to helping you avoid probate, a revocable trust allows you to name one or more people to serve as co-trustee with you so that you can work together on your finances.

Durable Power of Attorney

This document designates one or more people to make financial and legal decisions for you in the event of your incapacity. One of the great things about a durable power of attorney is that it makes life easier for your family. Without a durable power of attorney, your family may have to go to court to seek the appointment of a conservator to handle your affairs—this takes time and money.

Health Care Proxy

Like a durable power of attorney, a health care proxy designates a person to make certain decisions on your behalf should you become unable to do so. However, unlike a durable power of attorney, a health care proxy doesn’t relate to finances. Rather, it allows a person you appoint to make health care decisions on your behalf. Again, without a health care proxy in place, your family members may be forced to go to court to have a guardian appointed.

HIPAA Release

A Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) release is another important estate planning document that relates to your health. While a health care proxy authorizes someone to act on your behalf for health care matters, it only allows you to appoint one person at a time. However, you may need all of your family members to have access to your health information. A HIPAA release permits medical personnel to share your personal health information with anyone you name on the document.

Contact a Michigan estate planning attorney

If you’re ready to begin the estate planning process in Michigan, you need an experienced Michigan estate planning attorney on your side. At Keating Law, PLC, we care about our clients. Therefore, when you come to us for assistance with estate planning, we will help you craft an estate plan that ensures the protection of you and your loved ones. Please contact us today for a free initial consultation.


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