For those that regularly read this blog, they are likely familiar with estate planning or at least the basics. However, other than a will, many wonder what are the other essential estate planning documents. And, to answer that question, there are two essential documents: a health care power of attorney and durable general power of attorney. These focus on one’s financial, medical and family considerations not just when someone passes, but also when someone becomes incapacitated.
Health care power of attorney
One essential document for estate planning purposes is a HPOA, or health care power of attorney. Essentially, this document empowers another person to act on one’s behalf for their healthcare decisions, should one become incapacitated and not able to make one’s own healthcare decisions.
Of course, if one never becomes incapacitated, the HPOA will never go into effect, and the drafter can always change who they designate to make their healthcare decisions. Generally speaking, the HPOA will include an advance medical directive, which outlines one’s end-of-life wishes. These include whether one wants to be put on life support or kept alive through artificial means. This will stop family members from being involved in the process and make a stressful moment in the lives of our family members much less painful because they will not have to make these extremely complicated end-of-life options.
Durable general power of attorney
A DGPOA is another legal document that empowers a third party, also known as the drafter’s agent. Though, instead of healthcare matters, the agent is responsible for handling one’s legal and/or financial affairs if one becomes incapacitated. Like the HPOA, this can be effective whenever one designates, like immediately or upon a triggering event, such as incapacity. And, if the it is only activated by a triggering event, the DGPOA may never actually become effective.
Estate planning help
Of course, these are just two potential documents that are part of a full estate plan. To understand what one actually needs for their particular situation, one needs to call an Omaha, Nebraska, estate planning attorney.