Estate Planning for Nurses and Frontline Healthcare Workers
Let us begin by saying thank you. You tirelessly give of yourself to care for some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Whether you are caring for them in a hospital, therapy room, or patient’s home, you are there to protect and help the patient have a better tomorrow.
However, one important question remains. What have you done to prepare for your own care? By planning ahead, we can assist you in crafting the best possible strategy to ensure that you receive the same high level of care that you give to your patients.
A revocable living trust is an excellent way to manage and protect your money and property. Contrary to what some may think, you don’t have to have lots of money and property to benefit from a trust. The two major players involved in a trust are the trustee and the beneficiary. During your lifetime, as long as you are able and choose to do so, you can act as trustee of your revocable trust and can control the money and property in the trust. In addition to acting as the trustee, you can also be a beneficiary of the trust. This means that even after you have transferred your money and property into your revocable trust, you can still receive the benefits of that money and property.
In the event you are unable to act (i.e., you become incapacitated) or pass away, the individual you have named as your successor trustee will step in and manage the money and property according to the instructions in the trust agreement. Even if you are still alive when the successor takes over, it’s the successor trustee’s responsibility to manage and use the money and property for your benefit. After you pass away, the successor trustee is required to hold or distribute the money and property in the trust according to your instructions in the trust instrument. This transition of trusteeship between you and your successor trustee is designed to happen without court involvement, making it quick and private.
A financial power of attorney allows the trusted person you choose (your “agent”) to handle your financial matters on your behalf. Your agent under power of attorney can handle a wide variety of transactions, from signing checks to opening a bank account, depending upon the authority you grant that individual in the power of attorney. This can be a helpful tool if you are incapacitated, bedridden, or just unavailable to engage in the necessary transaction. A financial power of attorney document can be customized so that you will have the assistance you need, when you need it, based on your individual situation.
As you are probably well aware, a medical power of attorney allows you to name a trusted individual to communicate your medical wishes in the event you are unable to do so. It is important that you choose someone you trust because you will not be able to oversee your agent’s decisions. It is equally important that you clearly convey your end-of-life wishes. This can be accomplished through the use of a living will or advance directive.
Additionally, you should execute a HIPAA authorization form in the event you would like other trusted individuals to have access to your medical information (i.e., to get a status update on your condition or get test results for you) but do not want them to have the ability to make decisions. In a stressful situation, the dissemination of reliable information straight from the health care provider can be a way to ease tensions and allow everyone to process what is going on with a level head.
We understand that you are busy and your time is valuable. To better assist our clients, we are available to meet by telephone or video conference. We may also be able to use remote techniques for executing your documents, eliminating the need for you to come into our office at all. Your estate planning should not have to wait until you have a day off. Give us a call so we can get started caring for you right away.