4 Estate Planning Tips for Gen X'ers and Millenials
Estate Planning is not just for the wealthy and it is not just about when you die. Life is unpredictable. We have all lost young friends or loved ones. Everyone, over the age of eighteen, should designate someone to manage their assets and make health care decisions for them in case they cannot speak for themselves. If no arrangements are made for your incapacity, someone must get legal authority from the court in the form of a conservatorship. It is intrusive and expensive because ongoing court approval is required. It is much easier and less expensive to obtain a few legal documents that will allow people to help you when you need help.
- Older people are not the only ones who get sick and or die. An Advance Health Care Directive gives someone the authority to talk to a doctor for you and give the doctor instructions about your health care if you are not able to do so for yourself. Does someone know your wishes and have the authority to express them to a doctor? Someone also needs the authority to make final arrangements for you.
- Anyone who has ever been laid up and unable to deal with financial institutions knows they need a General Durable Power of Attorney for Finances. It allows your agent to manage your financial accounts, buy or sell real estate, sign rental agreements and deal with utility companies. This document is only valid while you are alive.
- A HIPAA Release. Allows your Agent to access your medical records. Your health insurance company may not pay your medical bills if they cannot see your medical records. If no one is authorized to obtain your medical records, the insurance company will not pay your medical bills and the doctor or hospital can turn your bills over to a collection agency.
- A Will leaves directions for who should care for a minor child or how assets should be distributed when you die. Even if you do not have many assets, it is necessary because it allows someone to collect a small amount of assets in a bank account, cancel a lease, or sell an automobile.