Frequently Asked Questions
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What is an estate planning package?
Your estate planning packing will include a Durable Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, HIPAA release, Directive To Physician and your Will. It may also include an out of hospital do not resuscitate order or designation of guardian before need. Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) – allows your designated agent (and an alternate if the primary can not serve) to carry out financial actions on your behalf. A Durable POA allows these actions to be conducted even if you later become incapacitated (dementia or Alzheimers). Medical Power of Attorney (MPOA) – allows your designated medical agent to make medical decisions on your behalf, but only if you can not make them for yourself. Caution: your agent must have a HIPAA release paired with it to allow your medical agent access to your medical information. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) – allows your medical agent to have access to your medical records and allows the medical treatment team to speak to your medical agent. This document must be paired with the MPOA to allow informed decisions to be made. Directive To Physicians (DTP) – provides your family your end of life choices, i.e. whether you want all medical means used to prolong your life, or whether you want to be kept comfortable, and allowed to die naturally. Out of hospital do not resuscitate order – required for those persons who, usually because of chronic health conditions, do not want emergency responders to administer resuscitation (CPR). Designation of guardian before need – for those persons who want to insure that a particular person is, or is not, named as their guardian in the future. Will – the only document that is effective after your death. Your Will should name a person to administer your estate, your executor, and tell your executor to whom you wish to have your assets distributed.
Can’t my “power of attorney” (actually your agent under a power of attorney) take care of my estate after I die?
Your Power of Attorney is extinguished and has no further effect after your death. Your Power of Attorney also has no effect once you become incapacitated, unless it is “Durable”, and has the specific language to allow your agent to act on your behalf incapacity.
Can you meet with my family member in her home or his hospital?
Yes, with prior arrangements, Mr. Daniell can meet with you or your family at your home or treatment facility. Also, our office has easy access with close parking and no steps.
Why do I need to re-evaluate or change my existing estate planning plan and documents?
You should review your plan any time a significant change happens in your life or your family members or those to whom you intend to leave your estate. For example, if a family member becomes incapacitated, whether for physical reasons; dementia or other mental or psychological reason; marriage or divorce; birth or death of circumstances of anyone named in your estate planning documents; e.g. change of housing, change in employment or any other financial or life changing circumstance.
What is the current estate tax threshold?
You will have to pay estate taxes on any of your estate that exceeds $11,400,000.00 at the rate of 40%. However, it is possible to prevent the assessment of estate taxes with proper planning and a married couple can protect up to double that amount. This can include the gifting of up to $15,000.00 per year per person. For more information see this link.
My relative has difficulty making decisions and understanding things that have been routine and easy for them in the past. What should I do?
First of all, have your Family member examined by a qualified gerontologist or neurologist. There are medications and treatments that may be of assistance. Second, let us help you review their estate planning documents to see if you have Durable and Medical Powers of Attorney that may allow you to manage their affairs without the necessity of pursuing a guardianship.