Checklist Serves as End-of-Life Care

Family with dogFor a generation that is proud of their ability to ignore all kinds of taboos, millennials are no different than any other generation when it comes to discussing end-of-life care and estate planning with their parents. It's up to you, Baby Boomers, to initiate the conversation with your millennial children and make sure that they – and you – understand the basic documents needed for estate planning and end-of-life care.

Benzinga's recent article, "Millennials and Estate Planning: How to Get Started," says that when you do begin discussing end-of-life care, you need to understand the documents involved.

Here is a list:

Wills: A will describes who will be in charge of your estate at the time of your death and to whom you want your assets to be given. You can also use a will to nominate a guardian for your minor children.

Living Trust: This is a common way to transfer assets upon your death and without probate. Typically, a trust will have property titled in it and will document what should happen to the assets upon your death.

Durable Power Of Attorney: This ensures that an individual you select has the authority to make decisions regarding your financial life in the event that you are incapacitated or unable to make decisions on your own, such as financial and legal matters.

Medical Power of Attorney: Physicians Directive: Like a durable power of attorney, a medical power of attorney give a person you designate the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf if you can't make those decisions yourself.

Advanced Health Care Directive: This allows you to list your healthcare preferences and can be used, along with your health-care proxy, to make certain that your medical wishes are carried out.

HIPPA Release Form: This allows those listed on your advanced health care directive and your health-care proxy to access your healthcare information so they can handle issues on your behalf if you are unable to do so.

Tax Documents: Can you believe that death does not stop taxes? Most taxpayers don't have to worry about federal estate taxes, but some must be aware that an estate over $5.45 million is liable for estate taxes, with some exceptions. Some states also have a state death tax in addition to federal estate taxes.

An estate planning lawyer can help you properly prepare these documents in advance. The attorney can also facilitate the tough discussions with family members.

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Reference: Benzinga (February 08, 2016) "Millennials and Estate Planning: How to Get Started"

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