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Covering the Estate Planning Basics

A basic estate plan for everyone should consist of the following four documents. Please contact Pearson & Paris for a free consultation.

WILL: A will, sometimes called a last will and testament, is how an individual directs how property should be distributed upon their death, including payment of debts and other final details. Included in the will is appointment of a personal representative (executor) who, working with a law firm, handles the details regarding the terms of the will. A will can also create a trust for minors and others to protect property in the long term.

MEDICAL DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY: In a situation where an individual is unable to make medical decisions for themselves, this document appoints another person who can make these decisions. If an individual is terminally ill, the appropriate document is the advance directive discussed below.

GENERAL DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY: This document appoints another person who can take care of financial and other affairs (other than medical decisions) if an individual is incapacitated.

ADVANCE DIRECTIVE FOR MEDICAL/SURGICAL TREATMENT (Living Will): This is for end of life decisions. If at any time a person’s attending physician and one other physician who has examined the person, certify in writing that: the individual has a terminal condition and is unable to effectively evaluate information or communicate decisions concerning their care, the advance directive addresses life support, nutrition, etc.