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The Five Basic Documents Everyone Needs

  • Sometimes our clients don’t realize that they are missing key basic documents. We recommend that everyone have a Will, General Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, Advanced Directive for Natural Death, and HIPAA Release. Executing these documents in advance can save you time and money.


    • Will – Everyone should have a will; otherwise, the state may impose a statutory scheme for distributing your property contrary to your wishes at death. In some situations, the addition of a trust will allow you to avoid probate, ensure privacy, and avoid taxes (among other advantages).


    • General Durable Power of Attorney – Even more important than a will, a GDPOA allows you to name a trusted agent to handle your financial affairs when you can no longer do so yourself. This lifetime document prevents the need for a guardianship proceeding in the event of a disability. Otherwise, a judge may publicly declare you incompetent and choose a guardian for you.


    • Health Care Power of Attorney – An HCPOA allows a trusted agent to make health care decisions on your behalf when you cannot do so yourself. For example, if you are unconscious, your agent can consent to certain life-saving surgeries on your behalf.


    • Advanced Directive for Natural Death – Also known as a Living Will, this document is a directive to your doctor communicating your preference for certain end of life decisions. While not right for everyone, this document can put loved ones’ minds at ease by stating your final wishes.


    • HIPAA Release – Since 2003, federal law requires a separate HIPAA release for health care workers to disclose private health care information. With this document, the hospital can give loved ones updates about your medical condition in the event of an emergency.


    Making these decisions now will provide peace of mind for the future. Contact Brad Law firm today at (919) 439-6777 to put your planning in place.