by Sharon M. Flack, Attorney, Musgrove Drutz Kack & Flack, PC
With a new year approaching, it’s time to make some resolutions. If you don’t have an estate plan, creating one should be at the top of your list.
Estate plans come in all shapes and sizes, from the very simple to the incredibly complex. What you need depends on your particular circumstance.
Ideally, your estate plan should include the following components: a last will and testament, a general durable power of attorney, a health care power of attorney, a mental health care power of attorney and a living will.
A last will and testament takes effect upon your death and governs how your property is distributed – who gets it, how they get it, when they get it and who is responsible for getting it to them.
A general durable power of attorney is a form of disability planning that allows you to appoint an agent to make financial and personal business decisions on your behalf. The agency under a general durable power of attorney can take effect immediately or after you become incapacitated. The choice is yours.
Health care and mental health care powers of attorney function in a manner similar to a general durable power of attorney. However, instead of appointing someone to make your financial decisions, with health care and mental health care powers of attorney you are appointing someone to make your health care decisions and to receive the necessary information from your health care providers to do so.
A living will is a type of advance health care directive that explains what kind of care and treatment, if any, you want to receive in a situation in which you are otherwise unable to communicate your desires with your health care professional. For example, a living will allows you to choose whether you want to be resuscitated if your heart stops beating and whether you want to be placed on a feeding tube if you descend into a vegetative state or are suffering from a terminal condition.
There are many issues to carefully consider when creating an estate plan and there are numerous unintended consequences that can result from having an incomplete or inadequate estate plan. An experienced estate planning lawyer can help you sort through those issues and can draft an estate plan that clearly and carefully describes your wishes and intentions.
At Musgrove Drutz Kack & Flack, PC, we’ve been helping people just like you create estate plans for more than 30 years. To learn more about how we can help you, give us a call at (928) 445-5935 or find us online at mdkflaw.com.
Sharon M. Flack is a shareholder at Musgrove Drutz Kack & Flack, PC, a full-service law firm serving our community for more than 30 years.