Hi, I’m estate planning and probate attorney Sarah Siedentopf. What do you need other than a will? Maybe you’re not in the mood for fancy estate planning. You don’t think that you need a trust or anything quite that grand but what basic documents do you need other than a will? Is a will enough? The answer is that a will is a great start. That definitely makes things easier for your family, it designates a guardian for any children that you have.
A will is a great start. You also need a financial power of attorney. If something happens to you and you need someone to be able to handle your bills, go to the bank for you, redirect your mail, any of those things, maybe even admit you into the hospital, you want a financial power of attorney.
Now, you also need an advance directive for health care. This is what Georgia calls what other states call a medical power of attorney or a living will. The advance directive for health care designates someone to make medical decisions for you if needed and also tells them what choices you want made. In addition to that, I recommend getting a HIPAA authorization because the advance directive for health care will give them the authority to make decisions. The HIPAA authorization may ease the way to them actually getting the medical records in the information that they need to make those decisions.
Of course, if you have any minor children, you will also want a designation of standby guardian because if something happens to you, but you’re still alive, you will want someone to be in place to take care of your children. So those are the documents that I believe you need in addition to a will and they’re very much for the protection of you and your family, and it’s not really contingent on having a lot of money or a huge estate or needing a fancy trust.
Those are the basic documents that I think all adults need. If you’ve got any questions about this, feel free to let me know. Thanks.
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