Mortality is a subject that people generally try to avoid, and it may not seem very relevant to you when you are still young or relatively young. At the same time, people of all ages contract catastrophic illnesses every day, and there are thousands of accidents.
Sometimes a highly publicized event will serve as an eye-opener, and the tragic Kobe Bryant helicopter crash would fit into this category. The people that passed away were young and healthy, so it really demonstrated the way anything can happen to anyone at any time.
The pandemic that we have been living through for close to a year now is surging, and it is now very easy to see why it is important to prepare yourself for any eventuality.
You should put an estate plan in place to cover the basics as soon as you are a self-supporting adult, but it becomes a must when there are other people depending on you.
Young families should carry the appropriate level of life insurance, and guardianship designations should be recorded. The details will depend upon the circumstances, and there are various different approaches that can be taken.
Advance Directives for Health Care
The novel coronavirus pandemic really underscores the importance of advance directives for health care. These are documents that you execute to account for medical decision-making in the event of your incapacity.
One advance directive that should be part of the plan is a living will. You either approve or reject life-support measures in your living will, and you can specify how you feel about each different procedure.
Sometimes medical decisions must be made that have nothing to do with life-support. To account for this possibility, you should include a durable power of attorney for health care. In this document, you designate an agent that will act as your representative if you become unable to communicate your health care choices.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was passed to keep patient information private. To give your agent the ability to speak freely with your doctors, you should sign a HIPAA release, and you can include others to the loop if you choose to do so.
These HIPAA protections kick in as soon as a young person reaches the age of 18. As a result, if your child is hospitalized when they are going to college out of state, their doctors would not be able to discuss their condition with you.
As a response, you should make sure that the children sign HIPAA release forms as soon as they become adults in the eyes of the law.
Your incapacity plan should also address the financial part of the equation. If you have a living trust, you would act as the trustee while you are alive and well. In the trust declaration, you can name a disability trustee to administer the trust in the event of your incapacity.
You can add a durable power of attorney for property to name an agent to manage property that has not been conveyed into a trust.
Attend a Free Webinar
We conduct webinars on an ongoing basis, and you can come away with a great deal of useful information if you spend some time with us. There is no charge at all, but we ask that you register in advance so we can reserve your spot.
You can see the dates and obtain registration information if you head over to our webinar page.
Need Help Now?
If you already know that it is time to put an estate plan in place, we are here to help. You can send us a message to request a consultation appointment, and we can be reached by phone at 219-865-2285.