In this article, you will learn:
- The documents to consider including in your estate plan
- When an estate plan can be updated
- Why hiring a Louisiana estate planning attorney is wise
We usually do three documents for an estate plan healthcare directive. First, we give you a healthcare power of attorney where you can appoint someone on your behalf to make medical decisions for you. So, for example, if you must have surgery or if you have to go in the hospital, this person could basically take your place and approve those medical treatments for you. We also have a healthcare privacy act authorization, which is a document that names the people that you allow to get information about your healthcare, and they may not be the people who make the decision, but you want them to still know what’s going on. Many folks may appoint a couple of their children to be the healthcare agent, but then for the privacy act, that might be much broader. There might be more people that they want to be able to get medical information but not necessarily make decisions. That’s why we split them into two separate documents.
The third thing you need is a living will or a declaration, and this is where you declare your wishes in terms of how you want your care handled. For example, should you be in a coma with no hope of recovery in a situation where you’re basically going to do poorly no matter what they do, how do you want that handled? Do you want to be kept alive artificially for some length of time, or do you want them to pull the plug right away? So, that is the living will.
The Components Or Documents That Should Be A Part Of Nearly Every Individual’s Estate Plan In Louisiana
In addition to those three healthcare documents, the healthcare power of attorney, the healthcare privacy act authorization, and the living will, everybody needs a will that states who they want to be in charge of your assets after you’re gone. Additionally, everyone needs a general power of attorney, and this would be the document that would allow the person you name to step into your shoes and handle your business should you be in a situation where you can no longer do it yourself.
How Often To Review And Update Your Estate Planning Documents In Louisiana
Depending on the document, generally you can amend things at any time as long as it’s something revocable. We recommend that you review no less than every three years or anytime anything changes in your life, like if you get married, get divorced, have a child, or you move. When certain changes happen in your life, it’s good to just take a look and see if we need to update anything.
Why You Need A Louisiana Estate Planning Attorney
You do need somebody in Louisiana who is licensed in Louisiana to do this for you. Louisiana has some laws that are slightly different from other states in the nation, and because of these idiosyncrasies, much of the online things that you see are not going to work well in Louisiana since they’re not really designed to work with the way our civil code is structured. So yes, you definitely need to talk to an attorney in Louisiana, not an attorney out of state. As far as using the online wills and services like that, you just have to be aware that you’re not getting any legal advice; you’re just getting a generic document that may or may not work. In our litigation practice, we see many of these come through, whether they’re either totally invalid, or they have serious problems and they end up in litigation.