In this article, were going to discuss the basic estate planning documents that every adult needs. There are no exceptions. You may need more documents, but you, certainly, dont need less. Everyone needs a will, financial power of attorney, health care power of attorney, and HIPAA release.
You need a will. A will serves three purposes, when you die. In your will, you name executors to administer your estate when you die; you name guardians for minor children; and you provide asset distribution instructions (who gets what when you die.)
- Financial Power of Attorney
You need a financial power of attorney. The label on the power of attorney may read, general durable power of attorney. Its the same thing. The financial power of attorney is used to appoint agents who will step into your shoes and manage your financial and day-to-day business affairs, if you cannot.
- Health Care Power of Attorney
You need a health care power of attorney. In your health care power of attorney you authorize agents to step into your shoes and make health care decisions on your behalf, if you cannot provide informed consent. Some health care power of attorney documents include a HIPAA release. If yours doesnt, you need a separate HIPAA release.
- HIPAA Release
You need a HIPAA release, whether as part of your health care power of attorney or a separate document. The HIPAA release meets federal privacy law requirements so your medical team can communicate with and release your personal medical information to your named health care agents.
If you dont have these four estate planning documents, you need them. Consult with a qualified estate planning attorney to get the appropriate documents in place.