What are the essential legal documents a person should have in place? Associate Attorney, Lauren Fink at Maser, Amundson, Boggio, P.A., suggests having at least a power of attorney, health care directive, and/or a will by the age of 18. By doing so, you are covered if a life-altering experience were to happen – allowing the necessary assistance for your financial, property, and/or medical needs.
Choosing a Executor or Agent
When choosing your healthcare agent, power of attorney, or personal representative, you may choose anyone you wish. Some individuals choose a family member, close friend, or a trusted healthcare professional, while others choose to designate/hire a professional such as a fiduciary or trust company. In your decision, remember to ask yourself who is going to carry out your wishes most effectively? Oftentimes, family members cannot agree on healthcare decisions by themselves, which can spark altercations among loved ones. Be sure the person you select is comfortable and willing to take over these responsibilities for you when the time comes.
In certain cases, instead of a family member or friend, an individual’s best option is to select a professional fiduciary as their personal representative to carry out their wishes after death. This usually applies to individuals that are single, have no family or children, or that have a complex estate or family dynamic.
It is still important to have a will even for those that may not have considerable assets to pass down. Associate Attorney Lauren Fink states, “If you don’t have a will, it means that you have not made any choices, and the choices are already being made for you.” Fink emphasizes the importance of creating a will, reminding us that planning ahead will ensure that the decisions made after your passing are what you would have wanted.
What is a POLST?
Provider’s Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, or POLST, is usually used for older seniors or people with a terminal condition. This document makes your wishes a physician’s order when it comes to life-support treatment or passing naturally without resuscitation.
The elder law team at Maser, Amundson and Boggio is here to answer any of your estate planning or life care planning questions.