Most people think of an estate plan as documents that distribute their property to their beneficiaries after their death. However, an estate plan does so much more than just this. It also protects you and your family should you suffer an accident or debilitating illness.
If you become incapacitated, even the most trusted members of your family may not be legally authorized to act on your behalf unless you have estate plan documents in place. If you are married, even your spouse may have difficulty acting on your behalf without written authorization from you. Without the necessary estate plan documents, your loved ones may not be able to access your accounts to pay your bills or the bills of family members who are financially dependent upon you, your wishes regarding your medical care may not be followed, and the decision regarding who will care for your underage children will be left entirely to the courts.
A Durable Power of Attorney, and in many cases a Revocable Living Trust, can provide the necessary authorization for trusted individuals to access your funds to pay your medical bills, mortgage, and other expenses for you and your family.
An Advance Health Care Directive details your wishes in the event of accident, injury, or illness, and designates trusted people who can make medical decisions when you cannot. Healthcare providers are not legally allowed to disclose aspects of your condition and treatment to family members without authorization from you. If you have an Advance Health Care Directive and HIPAA authorization in place, you can remove that information barrier for those you trust with your medical care.
Temporary guardianship may be necessary if you become incapacitated and are unable to care for your minor children. It is critical to designate those you feel most able to care for your children to avoid any further trauma that they could experience in the event of your incapacity. It is also important to designate those persons you trust to manage your finances on behalf of your children. Although a guardianship in California requires the court, the court typically considers your documented wishes regarding your children.
Contact the Law Office of Carol A. Fauerbach at (916) 597-1305 to discuss options for developing a customized estate plan that meets the needs of you and your family.
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.