Part of putting in place an effective estate plan is appointing trusted friends or loved ones to act on your behalf in case you become disabled during your lifetime. This is called incapacity planning, and it involves making use of several different documents to cover your financial and personal needs. One of the documents you’ll put in place as part of your incapacity plan is an Advance Medical Directive, with which you’ll name a healthcare agent to make medical decisions for you if necessary. … [Read more...] about How to Choose a Healthcare Agent
If someone close to you has executed a Power of Attorney appointing you attorney-in-fact, you should feel honored. That person – called the “principal” – has placed a great deal of trust and confidence in you. You might also be a little concerned. After all, one of the things you’re authorized to do, as attorney-in-fact, is to sign for debts on behalf of the principal. In fact, the Power of Attorney might even authorize you to buy property and sign for a mortgage in the name of your friend … [Read more...] about Does Signing as Attorney In Fact Make You Personally Responsible For a Debt?
As you make your estate plan and update it over the years, you’ll need to nominate several fiduciaries. What exactly is a fiduciary? It’s a person or an institution who will have the power to act on your behalf (or on behalf of your beneficiaries) in carrying out different elements of your estate plan. A fiduciary is responsible for acting in the interests of another person – and not necessarily in his or her own interests. Here are a few examples: Executor: An executor is the person … [Read more...] about Estate Planning Glossary: Fiduciary
What is the purpose of an estate plan? At its most basic, an estate plan ensures the smoothest, most orderly transition possible at the time of your death. This means that your loved ones know where you want your property to go – and how to get it there. It also means that, if you have young children, your loved ones know who is supposed to take care of your children, and what your expectations are for how your kids are to be brought up. A comprehensive estate plan also includes a plan for … [Read more...] about Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail: Why You Need an Estate Plan
So much of estate planning involves preparing for the unexpected. This is certainly the case when it comes to putting your incapacity plan in place. An essential part of your incapacity plan is having an Advance Directive. This is a document, such as a Living Will, that lets you communicate ahead of time your preferences for the type of care you want to receive – and don’t want to receive – if you’re gravely ill or seriously injured and can’t communicate your own wishes. Advance Directives … [Read more...] about When Should You Create an Advance Directive?
Many people mistakenly believe that if they become ill or injured and are unable to manage their own affairs, their spouse will be able to step into their shoes and take care of things for them. While this is partially true – your spouse can continue to manage your joint bank account, for example – you still need to consider disability planning even if you’re married. Here are just a few of the things your spouse can’t do for you: Sign for you during real estate transactions; Sell your … [Read more...] about Estate Planning Q&A: Can My Spouse Handle My Affairs if I Become Incapacitated?