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Estate planning in case of becoming incapacitated

Some people in Nevada may think of estate planning as only involving how they will transfer assets to beneficiaries. While this is an important aspect of it, it also is important that a person arranges to be cared for in the case of incapacity. This involves both financial and health care planning.

A durable power of attorney is an individual a person appoints in the event that he or she becomes incapacitated. However, some institutions may be uncomfortable acknowledging a durable power of attorney. A more recent power of attorney is better than an old one, but a revocable living trust is another way to handle this issue. This may be a good option for someone with an estate that is worth more than $1 million. The owner of the assets can be the trustee and continue managing assets while healthy. A successor trustee then steps in if the person becomes incapacitated.

A health care power of attorney is the individual someone appoints to make medical decisions on his or her behalf in case of incapacitation. A person might need to create a living will that details his or her wishes for end-of-life care, a HIPAA release that allows loved ones access to medical information and an authorization for organ donation. At the very least, someone who has been granted medical power of attorney should know what the person's preferences are even if they are not in writing.

As with other estate planning documents, people should review these regularly to ensure they are up to date. Someone's relationship with the individual that he or she chose for one of these roles could change, or the life situation of a person who was appointed could shift so that he or she won't be able to carry out the required duties. For example, someone who is chosen to make medical decisions should probably be a person that lives nearby or is at least easily reachable in an emergency.

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