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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Swan

A Good Estate Plan Is Like a Thanksgiving Dinner with All the Fixin's

Much like a good Thanksgiving dinner, an estate plan has many parts–and it wouldn’t be complete without all of them. Let’s have a look at the pieces of the Thanksgiving dinner, and how they correspond to the parts of your estate plan:

The Turkey: This is the star of the show. In your estate plan, the most important piece is your will or trust. This document will direct your Personal Representative how best to distribute your money. It can also describe what you value most for your assets after you pass away, and it helps determine which other documents you need to make your plan happen.

Stuffing/dressing: The turkey gets all the credit, but we all live for the stuffing. I’d consider this document like your Healthcare Power of Attorney. This is the single most important document for you to have if you are over age 18. Did you know that in Colorado, if you don’t have a Healthcare POA, your spouse does not automatically make your healthcare decisions? That’s because people move to Colorado from all over the country, and the law tries to accommodate those people who don’t have legal family nearby. If you are over 18, you must have a Healthcare POA.

Mashed potatoes: Another integral piece of the plate. This is your Colorado Durable POA. What does “durable” mean? It means that your POA can make decisions for you even if you are unconscious or incapacitated. This is so important if you are injured in an accident. When you can’t speak for yourself, your Power of Attorney nominates a person to make decisions in your place. It saves you money and it saves your loved ones a lot of time and headaches.

Green bean casserole: No one really likes it, but it’s obligatory. That’s your Living Will (also known as a Health Care Directive). It can be a difficult document to fill out because it asks tough questions about how you’d like to be cared for if you couldn’t speak for yourself (if you were injured in an accident, for example). The questions can be difficult, but we’ve got the tools to help you answer them well. That’s the benefit of working with a good attorney.

Sweet potatoes: What makes life sweet? The people you love. That’s where your HIPAA authorization form comes in. This is a list of all the people you would allow to access information about your medical care if you were injured in an accident. We help you create a comprehensive list of all the people who might need updates from the hospital, including your family. Without the authorization, your loved ones wouldn’t even be allowed to know where you were hospitalized, much less what is happening with your care.

Pumpkin pie: If you have kids, you know you’re going to have dessert on Thanksgiving. And you should also have a Kid Safety System as part of your estate plan. If you have minor children, you must nominate permanent guardians to care for your child if you cannot. Our Kid Safety System is included in our estate plans for all people with kids under 18, and it goes way beyond naming a guardian. We include temporary guardianship documents and much more. It’s like a slice of pumpkin pie with a big scoop of Cool Whip on top (do people still eat Cool Whip?)

There’s even more to the meal! If you’re curious to know what the cranberry sauce, butternut squash, and other pieces of the plate might be, then give us a call and set up an appointment to make an estate plan: 970-879-1572.

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