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Are Your “Not Dead Yet” Documents in Order?

Question mark with peopleAgPro’s recent article, “4 Estate Planning Documents You Need Beyond a Will,” asks: What if you get hit by a bus tomorrow?

Estate planning attorneys advise you to make your estate plan match your current situation, rather than “what-if’s” that may or may not occur many years in the future. If you get hit by a bus, you might die or you might not, so you need a portfolio of “not dead yet documents.” In addition to a will and/or a trust, the documents should include the following:

Power of Attorney. Signing this document means that you give a trusted agent the power to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated. You can also create two separate powers of attorney: one that gives authority to a business partner to make decisions concerning your farm or company; and one naming a spouse or family member to handle your personal finances.

Living Will. This document states your intent that, under certain circumstances, you want medical efforts to be withheld or withdrawn and that you want to be allowed to die naturally with only medication and procedures necessary for comfort and to alleviate pain. A living will can reduce some of the stress and burden from family members, in the event that they have to make an end-of-life decision.

Healthcare Directive. This is a life-prolonging procedure declaration and is the opposite of a living will. It states your intent for healthcare providers to use and continue all life-prolonging procedures that might possibly extend your life.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Release. When a loved one or agent needs to access your otherwise private medical records, he or she needs to have your HIPAA release that authorizes him or her to have access to your medical records. This eliminates any bureaucratic red tape or delay if someone needs to make healthcare decisions.

This set of documents is critical to creating a comprehensive plan and to prevent unneeded stress on your family.

Reference: AgPro (November 21, 2016) “4 Estate Planning Documents You Need Beyond a Will”

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