Have you updated your trust since 2004?

DOES THE NAME TERRI SCHIAVO RING A BELL?  All of us watched the unfortunate events on the news BACK THEN involving one family’s struggle with the right to die with dignity.  Regardless of how you felt about that situation, everyone agrees your wishes should be stated in your estate planning documents.  Because of a change in the law effective in 2004, YOU MAY NOT HAVE THE NECESSARY LANGUAGE IN YOUR DOCUMENTS.  The new law is called the “Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act” or “HIPAA” for short.  The problem is the new law does not allow your loved ones to get your medical information if you are incapacitated.  To review, in a living trust there are four documents: 1) the living trust (for assets titled in the trust), 2) the will (for assets accidentally not titled in the trust), 3) the health care document (for medical decisions), and 4) the power of attorney (for other important decisions).  If your trust has not been undated since 2004 we need to amend your living trust so your “successor trustee” can get medical information to show that you are incapacitated. We need to prepare a new health care document so your “health care agent” can get medical information to make the right decision if you are incapacitated and finally, we need to prepare a new Durable Power of Attorney for Assets so your “attorney in fact” can get medical information to show that you are incapacitated.

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