Estate planning is an important but often overlooked aspect of financial planning. National Estate Planning Awareness Week is in October, so it's as good a month as any to review your estate plan, especially if it's been a while. If you've had any major changes in your life, there's a good chance your estate plan needs updating.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans led a normal life one day and then were cut off from their families the next — in hospitals, nursing homes or elsewhere. So many people died without wills, plans or goodbyes.
Start by filing a HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) release form with all of your doctors to specify with whom you would like your information to be shared. This will let family members get updates about your health. Then schedule a meeting with a local attorney to finish two very important documents (you know, the ones that you told me last year you were going to finish…) first, the Health Care Directive and second, a durable Power of Attorney.
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