None of us know when our time on earth is going to be up, and dealing with the loss of a beloved family member is something that is difficult enough to do without having to guess what a family member who has passed on would have wanted us to do with our belongings. One of the best ways you can help your family handle your final matters once you are gone is to put some time into planning your estate.

Estate Planning For Your Lifetime

Estate planning includes a wide variety of issues and documents that serve a range of purposes. Some of these documents – wills and trusts – are to help your family take care of matters after your death. However, estate planning does not stop there – it also includes documents intended to help your loved ones handle things for you while you are still alive as well. In particular, the power of attorney and healthcare directives are used while you are still living. An overview of what purpose each of these documents serve is helpful in gaining an understanding of what may be most beneficial for your individual situation.

Power of Attorney

This document is one that is used while you are still alive and gives authority to someone you designate to make just about any decision on your behalf that you would ordinarily be able to make for yourself. Covering a broad range of issues, the power of attorney allows your agent – the person upon whom you grant this power to handle various tasks and responsibilities – to act on your behalf with respect to financial matters such as opening or closing bank accounts, writing checks, or buying and selling property. Laws regulating these documents are set forth in Alabama Code Section 26-1-2.

Healthcare Directive

Another document included in the collection of estate planning tools is the healthcare directive; very similar to the power of attorney, this document allows you to grant authority to another person to handle healthcare matters on your behalf.  This document is sometimes referred to as an advance directive as it usually includes your choices for the types of end of life measures you wish your medical professionals to take in certain circumstances. The value of this document cannot be understated, as it takes these decisions out of the hands of your family members and prevents situations in which they are left to wonder if they made the decisions you would have wanted them to make.

Contact Us For Help With Your Estate Planning Needs

At the office of Cloud Willis & Ellis in Birmingham, we are dedicated to helping people find the right solutions for their legal needs. If you are ready to start planning your estate, or if you have questions about what steps are right for your circumstances, our estate planning attorneys are here to help. Reach out to Cloud Willis & Ellis now to schedule your initial consultation to get started today.