Who needs an estate plan? Everybody over the age of 18 needs an estate plan. What they need depends on their stage of life.
At a bare minimum, everybody should have
- A durable power of attorney. If a young person is in an accident, then their parents, wife, or other trusted person can manage their finances, pay the bills, bank, and more. Older people should have one too in case of accident, medical incident, illness, etc. Without this, they will have to go to court to get permission from a Judge to make decisions.
- A healthcare power of attorney. The same goes for a healthcare power of attorney. In case of accident, medical incident, illness, dementia, and more a trusted family member or friend can make healthcare decisions.
- A HIPAA Waiver. Without this, doctors and other healthcare workers are not supposed to talk about your health or healthcare plan with anybody. This document lists who the healthcare workers can share information with.
- A “Living Will.” A Living Will is you “dying with dignity document.” If you are in a coma, permanent vegetative state, or the end is near and there is nothing else that can be done then a Living Will lists the care and treatments you want and don’t want.
- A simple Last Will and Testament. This just needs to be a basic list of gifts. That is, who gets what and how much. Without it, the State has decided.
Later, you can add a Revocable Living Trust to handle your real estate and other property you want to keep out of probate.
Who needs an estate plan? You do.