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Estate planning involves more than wills

A will is an excellent planning tool for what should happen after one dies. However, proper estate planning requires more than just a will. Planning for what happens at the end of one’s life is perhaps just as important, but is often overlooked. Including other important documents such as an advance health care directive can greatly improve the effectiveness of one’s estate plan.

In Georgia, an advance health care directive is perhaps more commonly known as a living will. A living will is used to outline one’s wishes should he or she suffer an illness or injury and become incapacitated. Unable to make medical decisions on one’s own, a designated individual would follow the guidance from the living will to make decisions on his or her behalf. That person should be named in a health care power of attorney.

If someone is incapacitated, he or she cannot make financial decisions either. Being unable to make financial decisions does not mean that bills magically stop though, so one may want to select a trusted individual to deal with those finances via a financial power of attorney. It is usually not a good idea to choose one’s closest friend or relative, but rather the individual who can be most trusted to make sound financial decisions.

Accessing all of this information and other key documents is not always easy when a loved one is in the hospital or has recently passed away. This is why some people in Georgia choose to create master lists that clearly outline important information, such as where to locate the will, bank documents and even Social Security numbers. It is also helpful to include login information for online accounts.

Estate planning is about much more than just leaving things behind to loved ones. A carefully constructed estate plan can also plan for one’s end of life, create a guide for the executor and more. Navigating through this process is not always easy though, and some find it helpful to speak about their options with an experienced attorney.

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