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Happy New Year!

It is that time of year again.  Many of us will use the next couple of days to reflect on the past year and look forward to making a positive change in the new year. Often those promises that we make to ourselves are to go to the gym, quit smoking, quit drinking, save more money, etc.  Unfortunately, statistics show that many will break those resolutions by the beginning of February.

This year, make a resolution that is easy to achieve and life-changing. Create or update your estate plan.

Every individual over the age of 18 should have the following:

  • Durable Power-of-Attorney: This will allow you to name an individual or individuals to make financial decisions on your behalf if and when it is necessary.  This planning tool is essential in avoiding a Guardianship proceeding which can be time-consuming, costly and restrictive.
  • Health Care Proxy: This document will allow a family member or another individual of your choosing to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so.  Only one agent can be appointed to act at a time.  It can also state your wishes regarding organ donation.
  • Living Will: This document specifies your desires as to life-sustaining treatment in the event there is no reasonable prospect of recovery.  This document provides guidance to your agent under the Health Care Proxy as to your desires regarding extraordinary life-sustaining treatment.
  • HIPAA: Allows the disclosure, or release of your health information to the individuals that you have selected to make health care decisions for you. This allows your health care agent(s) to access your health care information to make the most informative decisions about your care.

Beyond these documents, you should also consider updating or creating a last will and testament and/or a living trust.  These documents will make sure that your assets pass to those individuals or charities of your choice on your passing.

All of these documents can be drafted and executed in a matter of weeks, and you will feel accomplished for achieving your 2019 resolution!!!


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