Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Even though growing old and ultimately death is an absolute certainly, we live in a society where most people fail to plan for old age and death. It is a topic that we are reluctant to discuss even though there is no connection between talking about death and death.

The vast majority of people can competently plan for both for a few hundred dollars. What's more, spending that relatively modest sum while you are healthy and conscious may result in saving thousands of dollars down the road.

The three most important planning documents are the following:

1. Simple Last Will and Testament,
2. Durable Power of Attorney and
3. Health Care Proxy with Advance Directive aka "Living Will"

With these documents in place most people of middle class means are fully prepared. If you are a multimillionaire there is additional legal planning that may be important.

1. A simple will provides for the distribution of your property after your death.

2. A Durable Power of Attorney allows a spouse or other trusted family member or friend to assist you in handling your personal, financial and business affairs when you are living but need assistance.

3. A Health Care Proxy designates a health care agent to make health care related decisions if you are unable to do so. Advance directives provide important guidance to your Health Care Agent, family and medical care providers so they know your wishes and can confidently carry out your wishes if you are unconscious or otherwise unable to make your own decisions.

None of these documents take power away from you if you are able to decide or act for yourself. All of them can be easily modified or terminated if your situation changes and they are not expensive.

In my office most will cost $250.00 or less. A Durable Power of Attorney goes for $50.00 to $100.00 when it accompanies a will and I  typically prepare the Health Care Proxy with Advance Directive at not additional cost.

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