Articles Posted in Advanced Directive

Estate planning and advanced directives are a critical step that Texans can take to ensure that their wishes are effectuated if they become incapacitated or pass away unexpectedly. Estate planning is essential for all individuals, despite their wealth or age. Although, in some cases, Texas law provides residents with tools to create these documents on their own, it is vital that individuals consult with a Houston estate planning attorney to make sure that their documents are valid.

In creating Houston advanced care documents, individuals should include both health-related and financial planning directives. The three most essential parts of a person’s health-related advance planning documents are a medical power of attorney designation, directive to physicians (living will), and out-of-hospital do-not-resuscitate (DNR) instructions. These documents will provide doctors, healthcare providers, and family members with guidance on how to proceed with a loved one’s care. They remain in effect unless an individual revokes or changes them.

Medical Power of Attorney (MPOA)

12.4.19It’s easy to focus most of the estate planning attention on the will and distribution of assets. However, a power of attorney is often as important as a will.

Naming a person to take on the role of Power of Attorney is not easy. For some families, it can hang up the entire estate planning process.

Forbes’ article, “9 Things You Need To Know About Power Of Attorney,” reminds us that it’s an important decision and not one that should be taken lightly. Let’s look at what you need to know to get your POA right.

11.27.19Estate planning is even more important for individuals and couples without children. Without an estate plan, your assets may go to long-lost relatives you’ve never met. You also need to plan for incapacity, especially if there are no living relatives.

While your legacy may be different if you don’t have children, you still need to have an estate plan.

Motley Fool’s article, “5 Estate-Planning Tips for Child-Free Couples,” suggests that you may want to leave some of your money to friends, family members, charitable organizations, or your college. No matter the beneficiaries you choose, these estate planning tips are vital for childless couples.

8.2.19Yes, it is old-school, but if your family is on the traditional side, headed up by a breadwinner dad who runs the finances, then you need to make plans to ensure that your family will be okay, if something should happen to you.

This advice also applies to mothers who are the main breadwinners and run their family’s finances, even though the title of this Forbes article is “How Fathers Can Make Sure Their Families Are Financially Protected.”

Do you have enough life insurance? Be sure you’re adequately insured, so your family won’t struggle to pay the bills without your income. Many employees only have enough life insurance from work to cover a year’s worth of salary, which may be enough for some families. However, if your spouse can't make the mortgage payment on their own, and if they would be unwilling or unable to sell the home, you might want to at least make sure you have enough life insurance to pay off the mortgage. Once you know how much you need, buy a low-cost term policy for the maximum length of time you might need the coverage.

7.26.19The progressive nature of dementia makes advance directives necessary to manage the health care needs of the patient.

When adult children suspect that one or both of their parents may be suffering from the early symptoms of dementia, it’s a good idea to sit down with an experienced elder care attorney to start planning for the legal issues that will follow, says The Roanoke Times in the article “What to do in absence of advance directive.” If the parent is unwilling to cooperate, the attorney will be able to refer the family to a social worker or other professional who may be able to assist. In addition, a geriatric evaluation consultation with a board-certified geriatrician will help to clarify the medical issues.

It’s wise for anyone older than 55 to have advance directives in place, should they become incapacitated so a trusted agent can fulfill the patient’s wishes in a dignified manner. Think ahead and plan ahead.

7.10.19Having a durable power of attorney in place makes sense for some people. If you unexpectedly became ill or incapacitated, this would allow someone to take over your finances, including paying bills, checking on investments and managing the business side of your life.

A power of attorney is a legal document that lets an individual name another person or a financial institution to handle financial transactions for another person. The person who is given power of attorney, who becomes the individual’s “agent,” has a lot of responsibility, says WMUR’s recent article, “Why you need a financial durable power of attorney.” When there is no power of attorney in place, the spouse or family will need to go to court, before they can act on their loved one’s behalf.

Whether you’re young, elderly, single or married, it’s a good idea for everyone to have a power of attorney. For married couples, while your spouse can usually take care of the basic finances, many financial transactions require both spouses’ signatures. For those assets in your name only, your spouse will have no access.

1.8.19There are a number of different estate planning documents that are easily confused, including “Power of Attorney.” Let’s get a look at the different types of “Power of Attorney,” and what they do.

Of the estate planning documents, most people have heard of a will and some have a health care proxy. The Power of Attorney is effective while you are still living, and is also known as a “Durable Power of Attorney” because it is effective, or durable, even after you become incapacitated. Your will only becomes effective when you die.

The Times Herald says in the article “Powers of attorney good for life and beyond” that there are two general types of powers of attorney, one for financial matters and the other for health care matters. They shouldn’t be combined in a single document, because they have different legal requirements. Unless they say otherwise in the document, powers of attorney don’t expire until the creator does. However, there are a few powers in both financial and health care powers of attorney that can survive the person who created the document.

12.21.18Don’t have a medical directive, or don’t remember the last time you reviewed it? That means it’s time. We never know when an emergency or sudden onset illness will strike.

The biggest problem with medical directives, is getting people to confront the concept of being incapacitated or near death. Once you get past the emotional response, then a clear head and rational thinking make taking care of these important documents easier. However, they have to be updated, just like your will.

Your medical directive sets out what kind of care you want, when you are near death. A health care power of attorney names a person who will be empowered to make medical decisions on your behalf, if you cannot. These are tough concepts to wrap your head around, but very necessary. Without them, family members and doctors won’t know what you want. However, is what you wanted at age 30, the same as what you want at age 80? Maybe not.

Pen-calendar-to-do-checklistTo make sure that your wishes are carried out, you’ll have to do your homework. Make sure that you cover these most important documents.

The last thing you want to do, is leave a bureaucratic mess for your loved ones when you die. Not only will it cause the family stress during a difficult time, it could change how your family thinks of you. That should be more than enough reason to get this done in advance!

US News & World Report’s recent article, “12 Documents to Prepare Now for Your Heirs,” says that when people don't have their paperwork ready, it can be a huge headache for the family. A family can be left with all kinds of paperwork to sort out while dealing with grief. Even worse, heirs may forfeit life insurance proceeds and tax deductions or overlook accounts they don't know exist. That's why it's critical to have important documents ready for loved ones. Here are the documents you should start preparing right away:

10.12.18It’s understood that everyone needs a will. However, many people put it off. Don’t be one of those people. Your family will remember, and it won’t be a happy memory!

Celebrities aren’t the only ones who fail to plan for their passing. The difference is, their failures can become instructive for the general public. If we don’t have a will, only our family will know how much time, expense and stress occurs because of a failure to plan.

Merrill Lynch and the consulting firm Age Wave found in their recent survey that about 50% of study participants age 50 and older didn’t have a will.

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