Last week I attended an Estate Planning Seminar hosted by my friend Donna Dale of Edward Jones and our wonderful Estate Planning Attorney John Yohe. Here are some of the things I learned that I didn’t know prior to the seminar.
There are now 4 documents that make up the basic estate plan, a will, a durable power of attorney, a health care power of attorney, and a HIPPA release form. I didn’t know about the HIPPA release form. It turns out, without that form, even with a health care power of attorney, you won’t have access to the medical records necessary to carry out your duties as an agent under the health care power of attorney.
I also learned, even if you write your wishes down in a will regarding how you wish to be treated if you are sick or unable to make your own decisions, the will does not become effective until after you have died.
Other tidbits of interesting information: every will must be probated, a will takes a minimum of five months to probate a will, because that is the notice period allotted to creditors. Finally, an executor or agent has fiduciary duties to the principal (person who made the estate plan). If a executor (under the will) or agent (under the power of attorney or durable health care power of attorney) fails to act in the best interest of the principal, they are subject to both civil and possibly criminal penalties.
Tomorrow, I’ll tell you what I learned about Trusts.