Estate Planning: Advance Directives
Documents referred to as "advance directives" are important for every person because they deal with difficult decisions involving life, death, and incapacity. They should be prepared and signed now before incapacity occurs and your heirs might be faced with a costly and time-consuming guardianship proceeding. Contact Hilbrich Law Firm today with your specific advance directives questions.
Living Will Declaration: A "Living Will" is an instrument which states your desire that your life not be artificially prolonged, under certain circumstances, if you have a terminal condition and you are expected to die within a short period of time. In addition to the general language that "no life prolonging procedures be used", there is specific wording with regard to artificially supplied nutrition and hydration. The State of Indiana requires that individuals signing a Living Will make a selection of one of the following three options: (1) to require artificial nutrition and hydration; (2) to refuse the same; or (3) to make no choice and leave the decision to your designated Health Care Representative. You should execute four copies of the Living Will. It is suggested that one signed copy be retained by your attorney's office, and the remaining three copies be given to you, thus permitting you to ultimately distribute one to your primary representative, one to your successor representative, and retain one for your records.
Health Care Durable Power of Attorney/Appointment of Health Care Representative: A "Health Care Power of Attorney" in conjunction with an Appointment of Health Care Representative (Health Care Consent) are instruments which designate health care representatives to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make those decisions yourself. They authorize, grant, and may limit the health care powers and duties of the Attorney-in-Fact/Health Care Representative. The Health Care Power of Attorney cannot be used by your health care representative unless you are incapacitated. As with the Living Will, you should execute four copies of this document. Again, it is suggested that one signed copy be retained by your attorney's office, and the remaining three copies be given to you, thus permitting you to ultimately distribute one to your primary representative, one to your successor representative, and retain one for your records.
Durable Power of Attorney: A (Financial) "Durable Power of Attorney" is an instrument which designates representatives ("Attorneys-in-Fact") to handle all of your financial affairs and to act in your stead as you would or could act for yourself. This document is very broad in that it allows your Attorney-in-Fact to cash checks, move funds, invest money, sell real estate, handle tax matters, etc. Unlike the Health Care Power of Attorney, this document can be used by your representative, unless it is limited, regardless of whether or not you are incapacitated. For this reason, it is generally advisable for clients to retain all copies of this document. It is, however, important to notify your representatives of the existence and location of this document and make it accessible in the event of emergency. As with the other advance directives, you should execute four copies of the Power of Attorney.
Document Execution: It is important for your representatives to properly execute documents any time they sign on your behalf pursuant to the powers you have granted to them through a Power of Attorney. The following is the proper method:
By: (Name of Representative), POA
The purpose for the above is to avoid personally obligating your representatives when they execute documents on your behalf.
Additional Distribution of Copies: It is also important to provide any physicians and/or hospitals that care for you with copies of the medical documents (i.e., Living Will and Health Care Durable Power of Attorney). If you present your originally executed documents for copying, make sure your original documents are returned to you.
Costs of Estate Planning: Everyone should have some minimum estate planning. At Hilbrich Law Firm, we have decided to reduce costs so these documents are affordable for all of our clients. For example, as of December 8, 2014, at our office a single basic Will is $250.00. A Living Will is $180.00, a Power of Attorney is $250.00 and health care directives are $280.00, which total $960.00. But if all are done together in a single package, the cost is $575.00. Similar discounts are given for husband and wife packages or plans involving Trusts.
Wallet Cards, Document Binders, and Fireproof Protection: At no charge, each client of Hilbrich Law Firm can receive a wallet card which contains important estate planning information, a secure binder in which to keep all documents organized, and lifetime storage of estate planning documents in our fireproof safe.
Call us at 1-877-877-LAW2 (5292) or send us an email at [email protected].