Your estate planning attorney welcomes your questions. And while he is not trying to turn you into an estate planning expert, he knows that you will feel more comfortable with your estate plan if you have your questions answered. To this end, we are providing the answers to five frequently asked questions. Please see “Estate Planning for Beginners: 9 FAQ (part two) for the answers to more questions.
1. What is probate?
Probate the court process by which the court determines the validity of your will as well as the entire process of winding down your financial life when you die.
2. Do I need a will?
Regardless of asset level, family situation, or age, you absolutely need a will. Your will appoints an executor, nominates guardians for your minor children, and distributes your assets.
3. How do I choose an executor and a trustee?
You are welcome to select a family member, friend, or professional to serve as your executor and your trustee. These trusted helpers should be good record keepers and good communicators.
4. How do I let the doctors know that I don’t want to be hooked up to machines?
You express your wishes not to be hooked up to machines in a living will. Your living will provides that if you are in a persistent vegetative state, irreversible coma, or otherwise terminal and at the very end of like, heroic measures won’t be used to artificially extend your life.
5. What’s HIPAA?
HIPAA is the federal privacy law regarding medical information. You need a HIPAA release as part of your estate planning package so that medical professionals such as doctors will speak freely with your health care agents.
If you have further estate planning questions, read part two of our frequently asked questions and consult with a qualified estate planning attorney.