Have a Will?
Why You Still May Not Be Prepared
A lot of people think that if they just get their will done,
they’re set! But in fact, that's not so. A will represents a small part of a complete estate plan. A will distributes your
property when you die. But what happens
to your property if you are alive, but incapacitated (in other words, unable to
make decisions for yourself)? How would
your bills get paid? What would happen
to your investments? Perhaps more importantly, who would make health care
choices for you if you lacked the ability to speak and think for yourself?
A comprehensive estate plan not only includes a will (to
take care of things when you die), but also important documents that
take care of things when you are alive but unable to act for yourself. These documents include:
A Financial Power of Attorney, which
gives another person (your agent) the authority to access your finances and
make financial decisions on your behalf.
A Health Care Power of Attorney, which
gives your agent the authority to make health decisions on your behalf.
A HIPAA Release, which authorizes
health care providers to release your information to your health care agent.
A Living Will (or Health Directive), which gives specific
instructions about what steps you want taken if you are incapacitated
and facing specific health situations.
A Digital Diary, which gives passwords and instructions for how to access your digital files, either on your personal computer, mobile device or those stored in the cloud.
In short, as you prepare your estate plan, remember that a
will alone is not enough to protect you and your loved ones. Be sure your estate plan includes these
important documents as well.