According to a survey conducted by Caring.com, less than half of Americans have a basic estate plan in place. If you are among this majority, we have some good news: creating a solid estate plan is not as daunting as you may think it is. In addition, if you’re one of those people who think you don’t need an estate plan, think again. Everyone should have an estate plan in order to protect their assets, make their wishes known, and ensure that their assets are distributed according to plan when the time comes.
Here are five important estate planning documents that form the bedrock of any comprehensive estate plan. To learn more, contact our office today to request a consultation with a Utah estate planning lawyer.
A Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney is a document that appoints one or more people to take care of your legal and financial matters in the event that you become incapacitated because of an illness or injury. The reasons these powers of attorney are referred to as “durable” is that they survive your incapacitation, while non-durable powers of attorney do not.
A HIPAA Release
HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, is a federal law that prohibits healthcare providers from releasing your medical information to anyone, including your spouse, without a signed release
An Advance Health Care Directive
In Utah, an Advance Health Care Directive can be created by filling out a form established by statute that allows a person to both designate an agent to make decisions on their behalf and also state their wishes regarding healthcare should they become incapacitated. In this way, it combines a healthcare power of attorney and a living will into a single easy-to-use form that accomplishes two important estate planning tasks simultaneously.
A Revocable Living Trust
A revocable living trust (sometimes referred to as an inter vivos trust) is an extremely useful estate planning tool that allows you to transfer assets directly to your heirs and other beneficiaries while avoiding probate, which can be time-consuming and expensive. In this ways, trusts provide some advantages over wills when it comes to passing assets and wealth from one generation to the next. In addition, a living trust can be used to plan for financial management of assets in the event of your incapacity by naming a successor trustee in the trust documents.
While many people think of a will as the primary way to dispose of your assets after you pass away, in reality, the purpose of much estate planning is to make alternative arrangements for asset transfers. This is because wills must go through probate, which is something that most people want to avoid. That being said, a will is still an extremely important part of a comprehensive estate plan and can be used to control the transfer of any “leftover” assets that are not included in your trust or transferred by alternative means like joint ownership or beneficiary designations.
Contact Craig Dell Attorneys Today to Speak with a Utah Estate Planning Lawyer
Whether you are just starting your estate plan or have an existing estate plan that you would like to review and update, you should enlist the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney. To schedule a consultation with a lawyer, call our office today at 801-783-2515 or contact us online.