No matter your age, health, or perceived wealth it is important that all adults have carefully drafted estate and incapacity planning documents. These documents define your estate plan and ensure that your loved ones have the proper information to be able to handle your affairs and make decisions for you upon your death or incapacity. Estate planning at Frankel Estate Planning & Elder Law, LLC is centered around helping clients keep control over important decisions and ensure peace for their beneficiaries.
The most important parts of an estate plan are an Advance Directive for Health Care, a Durable Financial Power of Attorney, a health care proxy, and will.
The Advance Directive for Health Care and Durable Power of Attorney are incapacity planning documents and define who will make key decisions for you in the event that you are unable to direct your own financial or health affairs. It is essential that you have a trustworthy agent to direct them for you.
A Power of Attorney grants a trusted person (your agent) the power to handle your financial affairs. These affairs can include real property transactions, everyday banking, operating your business, paying bills, buying and selling property, and even amending or adding to your estate planning documents. Your agent can also complete several other financial and legal actions. What the agent can do depends on your situation and your power of attorney.
One important thing to remember is that a Power of Attorney is an incredibly authoritative document. As soon as the document is effective, your agent has the powers laid out in the document, and therefore, your agent should be a person who is trustworthy, financially competent, and very organized.
The health care proxy functions much like a power of attorney; however, it is only for decisions regarding your healthcare. It appoints a health care agent who is empowered to make decisions regarding your health. Usually, this includes procedures such as artificial respiration, hydration, tube feeding, and other procedures.
A will states who is in charge of your estate, who is serving in certain roles, and how your property is to be distributed after your death. It outlines your preferences regarding the specific procedures you do and do not wish while in a terminal state and informs hospital staff, family members, and friends of your exact wishes.
Without a will, default intestacy provisions take over. This means that the state of Pennsylvania will choose who receives your property and administers your estate, regardless of what your preferences may have been, many times, resulting in family disputes or termination of benefits.
If you’ve done planning in the past, it’s crucial to periodically revisit those documents. Laws, family dynamics, health situations and assets can all change year to year. Our firm can help get your planning documents up to date so that you are confident and your family is at peace no matter what life change occurs. We can help you create an estate plan to protect yourself, your loved ones, and ensure your property is distributed according to your wishes.
Please contact us to learn more about the specific Estate Planning services we offer by calling (610) 897-8994.