Other Estate Planning Needs
A Will along with either a revocable or irrevocable trust are some of the elements necessary to provide sufficient estate planning for an individual. However there are other items which need to be addressed and should be looked at as the individual is addressing the issue of estate planning. The first of those would be a Durable Power of Attorney. This would be a Power of Attorney given to an individual to allow him to stand in the shoes of the grantor (the person giving the power) as if he was the same person. A Durable Power of Attorney will remain in effect up and to the date of the grantor’s death. This is whether or not the individual has become permanently or temporarily incapacitated. A regular or standard Power of Attorney will terminate when the named individual is unable to manage his affairs or to preserve his assets, or as the saying is in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania "subject to designing persons".
Additionally there is a Medical Power of Attorney which should be considered under the Advanced Health Care Directive Act of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. There is also an Advanced Health Care Directive, or what is generally referred to as a "Living Will". The Medical Power of Attorney addresses the issues specifically as they relate to medical. Although the Medical Power of Attorney can be incorporated into a Durable Power of Attorney, it is the suggestion of the author of this website that the two items remain separate in that the Medical Power of Attorney may have to go to either a physician and/or medical institution where the Durable Power of Attorney may end up in the hands of a banker or a financial institution. The Living Will is to address the issues of what an individual does or does not want to occur to his person when that time comes. This is a document that must be maintained by the individual and given to the medical provider each and every time. It is important that a significant number of these are signed initially so there are originals to provide to medical providers. Once a medical provider receives a Living Will they generally will not return same to the individual and therefore the Living Will will be lost. Durable Powers of Attorney, Medicals Powers of Attorney, Health Directives and Living Wills although not disposing of property of the individual are just as important in Estate Planning as the documents which distribute the actual property themselves. Failure to have a Durable Power of Attorney may place the Court in a position where it must appoint a guardian for the individual and therefore immediately remove the individual from the entire Estate issue, which may cause significant harm to numerous individuals as a result of that.