• Why You Need an Estate Plan When You’re Young

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    Kathleen Fowler, Esq.
    The Law Offices of Kathleen Fowler, LLC, with offices in Dennis on Cape Cod, and in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and a satellite office in Venice, Florida, provide sound legal advice, caring support and dedicated representation in a broad range of legal matters that are important to protecting the interests of individuals, families and businesses now and in the future.
    Kathleen Fowler, Esq.

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    By Kathleen Fowler

    Two documents are absolutely needed for young people.  Those documents are the Durable Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy or Health Care Surrogate.

    The Durable Power of Attorney is the document that provides who may act in your stead to manage your financial affairs.  The adjective Durable here refers to the fact that state law allows the person you have named to act for you even if you become incapacitated.  (At a time when you are suffering from a disability or incapacity is just the time that you need the help.)  Prior to state law allowing durability of a power of attorney, powers of attorney automatically would expire upon incapacity of the grantor.

    But, consider young people and how often they move.  It is not unusual for young persons to move from home to college, then back to home, and then perhaps to work or to internships.  It becomes obvious how having someone named in a Durable Power of Attorney, who can deal with hometown banks, income tax returns, bill paying, and other financial transactions is so convenient.

    The Healthcare Proxy is the document that names the persons who will make your healthcare decisions in the event that you are unable to make your own decisions.  In addition, this document gives your permission to your healthcare providers to discuss your private medical information.  Without this permission, Drs., nurses, and all other healthcare professionals are prohibited from discussing your private medical status.

    Imagine a parents’ angst when told by a hospital that because their child is an adult and he or she cannot give consent to share his/her medical information at that time, the hospital may not share any information.  If that young adult has executed a Health Care Proxy naming the parents as the child’s agent, the parent could fax the document to the hospital and then learn the medical condition of their child.

    A Last Will and Testament is also a good addition to the planning for young persons.  The Will ensures that any assets that the person owned and that did not have a beneficiary designation or a joint owner listed will avoid intestacy.  Intestacy statutes are state by state laws that prescribe where a person’s assets will go upon their death when they have not created their own planning.

    Why let a state decide your plan?

    Kathleen Fowler is an estate planning attorney with offices in Dennis, Wellesley and Naples, Florida. She can be reached via the form below:

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    March 22, 2014