Powers of Attorney: Do they Last Forever?

Every estate plan I do in California will have two types of powers of attorney, one for health care and one for finances.     A power of attorney for health care decisions is called an “Advance Directive” and they allow you to  appoint a trusted person to make medical decisions on your behalf in case either illness or injury make you unable to choose your health care options.  You may be unconscious or otherwise incapacitated.    Powers of attorney for finances appoint someone else to make financial decisions or execute transactions on your behalf under certain circumstances. Those circumstances might be that you are our of the country on a vacation or work related trip or you are incapacitated.  They may be limited in duration for a vacation while for incapacitation, they may last a very long time.  For them to last through any incapacity, they need to be “durable”, meaning intended to last during any incapacity.   So you have done these, now what?  Can you sit back and relax, knowing you are set for all time?  As they say, “not so much”.  Powers of attorney should be reviewed periodically.  There are many reasons why you might want to consider executing new ones:   • Your wishes may have changed. • The agents you chose to act for you may have died or otherwise become unavailable.  • You may no longer trust a person you chose. • If you designated your spouse as your agent and you later divorce. • If you’ve since moved to another state, your powers of attorney may no longer work the same...

In Case of Death List

In Case of Death List The following agencies need to be notified of your loved one’s passing. Not all may apply to your situation: Social Security Administration Veteran’s Administration (if the decedent formerly served in the military) Defense Finance and Accounting Service (military service retiree receiving benefits) Office of Personnel Management (if the decedent is a former federal civil service employee) U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service (If the decedent was not a U.S. citizen) State Department of Motor Vehicles (If the decedent had a driver’s license) Credit card and merchant card companies Banks, savings and loan associations and credit unions Mortgage companies and lenders Financial planners and stock brokers Your estate planning attorney Pension providers Life insurers and annuity companies Health, medical and dental insurers Disability insurers Automotive insurer Mutual benefit companies All three credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion Any memberships held by the decedent (ex: health clubs, professional associations, clubs, library etc.) You can list the decedent on the Deceased Do Not Contact List, maintained by the Direct Marketing Association, which is a service that removes the decedent from all direct mailing...

Why Do I Need To Plan My Estate When The Estate Tax Exclusion Is Up To $5,000,000!?

Why Do I Need To Plan My Estate When The Estate Tax Exclusion Is Up To $5,000,000!? I talk to a lot of people who stopped worrying about planning their estates when the 2011 threat of the $1,000,000 limit of assets that could transfer to their heirs without estate tax jumped to an unbelievable $5,000,000 per person! The legislature extended a tax bill already on the books for two more years and increased the exclusion amount from $3,500,000 to $5,000,000. At a $1,000,000 limit, in California, it is fairly easy to see exceeding that amount when one considers the value of your house and retirement assets and planning became critical. Now, it seems people have relaxed and figure, I suppose, that unless they are any where near five million dollars in their estates, they have nothing to worry about. Think again. First, that $5,000,000 amount is only through December 31, 2012, which is next year. Second, it has nothing to do what happens to your body, only your money. Third, the new exclusion amount does nothing for your children should a Guardian be needed. There is much more to planning your life and estate than just how much money you have. Let’s start with a very basic background on the Estate Tax in the United States. The estate tax is one part of the Unified Gift and Estate Tax system in the United States. It is a tax on the transfer of the “taxable estate” at death of any assets by any means, whether via a will, according to the state laws of intestacy, a transfer of property from...
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