Justin Raber Attorney at Law


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Estate planning is about more than giving away your stuff

Residents of West Virginia may know the importance of preparing their estates for the unavoidable eventuality that they will pass away. Estate planning may involve organizing one's assets, paying down debt and writing a will. If there is a fear of estate taxes or heirs with special needs, a trust may be included. However, many people overlook some important ways in which an estate plan can benefit them while they are still alive.

While an estate plan provides security for those a person leaves behind, it can also provide protection for the testator - that is, the person who writes the will. Testators can include important decisions about their health care in case they become too ill to make those decisions for themselves. By including an advanced health care directive and a living will, a testator can let loved ones know how to handle certain delicate medical matters, especially those regarding end-of-life decisions.

In addition to granting power of attorney for someone to manage one's medical care, an estate plan can also protect one's finances. Durable power of attorney allows a testator's chosen representative to make financial decisions if the testator becomes incapacitated. However, it will be important for a testator to check with his or her financial institutions to see what documentation they will and will not accept before allowing a representative to have access to the testator's finances.

There are other ways in which estate planning can go beyond simply distributing assets. For example, a West Virginia attorney can advise a testator on the benefits of including a HIPPA release or organ donor authorization. In fact, there may be many options available to make one's estate plan complete.

Source: marketwatch.com, "This is the most important person to remember in your estate plan", Brad Wiewel, Nov. 17, 2017

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