In Part 1 of this article, we discussed three important estate planning tools: wills, trusts, and joint tenancy and beneficiary deeds. In this section, we will examine three additional tools that can be used to design a comprehensive and effective estate plan that protects your best interests.
Durable Power of Attorney
While wills and trusts become most effective after you have passed away, a durable power of attorney protects you and your estate during your life. This is a document that must be created in accordance with Missouri law that gives another person the right to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated. A durable power of attorney generally comes into effect if you are in a sudden accident that renders you unconscious or if you develop a health condition that affects your cognitive abilities.
While no one wants to consider such situations, it is important to designate a trusted person who will handle your affairs in your best interests. Your power of attorney will manage your accounts and investments, pay your bills, and ensure your finances are in maintained.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
In addition, you can appoint a durable power of attorney for health care to oversee your medical decisions in case you become unable to do so. This person cannot be your physician or anyone employed by a medical facility that is treating you. Your health care power of attorney can be a different person than your financial power of attorney, or you can designate the same individual to fulfill both roles.
It is important to give clear instructions regarding your end-of-life wishes that your health care power of attorney can follow. This can be done in your advance directive. This document can instruct that you do or do not want to be kept on artificial life support or any other wishes in line with your ethical, moral, or religious philosophies.
Discuss Your Options and Needs with a St. Louis and St. Charles Estate Planning Attorney
All of the above documents should be carefully considered because they will directly affect your own quality of life, as well as your estate. If you want to discuss a comprehensive estate plan in the St. Louis or St. Charles area, please contact the Law Offices of Kenneth P. Carp at (636) 947-3600 today.