I understand the last few days and weeks have probably caused you some anxiety not just about the volatile financial markets, but also – maybe primarily- about your health and the health of those you love and care about. I’m an estate planning lawyer and I know having your “ducks in a row” can provide some level of comfort, so I am reaching out with some important information. Here are some things to think about for you and, especially your aging parents:
- Do you have a current Durable General Power of Attorney which allows your appointed agent to deal with third parties with respect to financial and other matters? This could be important in dealing with banks, insurance companies, and professional advisors, such as your accountant or financial advisor.
- Do you have current Advance Directives? Advance Directives typically include a Health Care Proxy, which names the person you want to make medical decisions, including end-of-life decisions, for you if you are incapacitated. Also included is a Living Will which communicates whether you want to be kept alive by artificial means if you have terminal condition or are in a permanent coma.
- Do you know where these documents are? If you need to use these documents, you need to know where they are. You may find some comfort and having these handy.
- Are all of your Beneficiary designations current and accurate? Now would be good time to check the beneficiary designations of your IRA/401k/annuities and life insurance to make sure you have the correct beneficiaries named in the event of your death. Remember, your will or trust generally does not control all of your assets.
- Do you have a HIPAA Waiver which authorizes those you designate to have access your protected health information? Especially if you have aging parents, it is critical to be able to get health and insurance information from providers. A stand-alone HIPAA Wavier is the way to get it.
- Have you updated your Will and/or Revocable Living trust recently? If not, now may be a good time to that as well.
If there is anything we can help with, let us know.