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Tuesday, September 05, 2017

There Is More To Estate Planning Than A Will

While having a will is key in estate planning, people often make the mistake of thinking that its the only estate planning document they need.

A Forbes article, The Biggest Estate Planning Mistake People Make points out that a “will has little or nothing to do with you, It’s all about planning for someone else.” 

            So, what is estate planning?        



To guarantee that you are well-covered legally, financially and medically even when you are debilitated and cannot decide for yourself, make sure to complete the following five documents in your estate plan: 

Also known as Health Care Power of Attorney or Medical Power of Attorney, the Advanced Health Care Directive is one of the two legal documents every adult needs. This document assures you that your chosen and trusted health care agent will be able to make health care decisions for you when you are unable to do so for yourself. 


Living Will contains your instructions on what actions should be taken if you are permanently unconscious or terminally ill. A Living Will is often signed by persons who do not want the burden of deciding whether to remove life support to be placed on the shoulders of a loved one.

A Durable Power of Attorney (often called a Financial Power of Attorney), on the other hand, will cover other practical and financial obligations you are incapable of handling. Again, your chosen and trusted agent will make decisions and do thing on your behalf, which includes but are not limited to: payment of bills, taking care of investments and overall financial management. 

A Revocable Living Trust “acts like a super power of attorney,” according to Brad Wiewel. It reduces the possibility of having problems with financial institutions accepting your Durable Power of Attorney and gives you many other benefits. One main advantage of having a revocable living trust is that assets transferred to the trust avoid probate at death, which keeps details of your estate private and often reduces the cost and time of administration after your death.

If you are a long-time reader of my blogs, you might remember me enumerating the benefits of a revocable living trust when I discussed the flexibility of living trusts.

You must take note though, that even with a living trust, you will still need a Durable Power of Attorney “to identify the person you want to manage your retirement accounts, like your 401(k) and your IRAs,” according to the Forbes article.


A HIPAA Medical Authorization ensures that the people you name are legally entitled to obtain your protected health information. In other words, it allows your loved ones to be informed of your condition if you have a medical emergency or condition that prevents you from communicating with them directly.


If you want want to donate your organs when you die, you need to complete an Organ Donor Registry form. You should also notify the BMV when renewing your driver's license and inform your health care agent. To join the organ donor registry, visit Donate Life Ohio.



Ready to get your estate planning taken care of? Call me at 614.453.5208 to set up a free 1-hour initial consultation.

Russell C. Golowin helps clients create wills, trusts powers of attorney, HIPAA Medical Authorizations and other estate planning documents in the central Ohio area. Visit his website for more information on estate planning in Columbus, Ohio. 

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