Estate Planning 101

November 22, 2016

Wills, Health Care Directives, and Power of Attorney documents help you plan for the future and give you peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out. 

A Will is a document that states what you want done with your property after you die.  You do not need to have a lot of money or property to need a will.


If you have heirlooms that you want to keep in your family, then you should write a will.  A will also lets you leave money or property to a charity or to a friend instead of a family member.  If you do not write a will then state law determines who inherits your property, and this may not reflect your wishes.  A will does not take effect until you have died.

Health Care Directives (HCD) used to be called Living Wills.  

HCDs allow you to name someone as your health care agent, which is someone who can make important health care decisions for you when you are unable to speak for yourself.  You can also write specific instructions in your HCD for your agent to follow.  A HCD does not take effect until you are unable to speak for yourself.

Power of Attorney documents (POA) let you give someone permission to handle your financial affairs for you. 

A POA takes effect as soon as it is signed. It is very important that you name someone whom you trust to handle your affairs.  You can also specify that you want your POA to remain in effect when you are unable to handle your affairs for yourself.  This can save your family and loved ones a lot of trouble and expense in the future.  

All three of these documents together are part of an Estate Plan, and can give you peace of mind, knowing that your future financial and health care needs are taken care of.


SMRLS is now holding estate planning clinics throughout our service area for low income seniors.  Click here to find a clinic near you. 

Call 1-888-575-2954 to schedule your appointment to get your Will, Health Care Directive, and Power of Attorney documents prepared at one of the clinics. 

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