What Estate Planning documents do I need?

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Basic estate planning is important to ensure your wishes are honored.  Basic estate planning has two parts; planning for incapacity and planning for death.

Planning for incapacity means planning for who would act for you if you were no longer able to manage your assets or communicate your health care decisions to your health care providers.  A Durable Power of Attorney for Finances allows you to appoint someone you trust to manage your finances in the event you cannot conduct your own financial business.  An Advance Directive for Health Care has two functions that would go into effect if you were unable to communicate with your doctors regarding your health care:  (1) it appoints a health care representative with authority to make decisions for you, and (2) it gives instructions to the representative regarding your care and end of life decisions.  It is important to have a Power of Attorney and Advance Directive so your wishes are carried out and you avoid the time and expense of a Conservatorship and/or Guardianship.

Planning for death means planning ahead for how you wish your assets to be distributed when you die.  Having a will allows you to direct where you want your assets to go and ensures your wishes will be carried out.  The person you name as your personal representative would be in charge of carrying out your wishes as part of the probate process.  If you die without a will your probate assets would pass according to the laws of intestate succession.  For many people, these laws match what they would intend.  However, if you have any special circumstances or wish to benefit a friend, significant other, or one family member over another, then it is important to have a will to express your wishes and achieve your goals.

An experienced estate planning attorney can help you assess which documents best fit your needs. Contact the estate planning attorneys with the Law Offices of Nay & Friedenberg in Portland, Oregon at (503) 245-0894 to set an appointment.