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Estate Planning

 
Will- a will appoints a guardian for your minor or disabled children, and determines how your assets will be distributed after your death. Everyone should have a will.
 
 
Trust- appoints a trustee to oversee your estate, can provide significant tax advantages, and can avoid  probate. There are different kinds of trusts (for example: credit-shelter trusts, charitable trusts, special needs trusts).
 
Powers of attorney- powers of attorney are essential to appoint an agent for you in case you are disabled.
    • Financial power of attorney- appoints someone to take care of your financial affairs (effective immediately [on execution], or "springing"- effective only on your disability)
    • Medical power of attorney- appoints someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are disabled
 
HIPAA release authority- appoints someone to access your medical record and to interact with your doctors and insurance company if you are not able to do so on your own.  Waiver of HIPAA medical record privacy provisions (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996).