For a New Jersey resident motivated to do estate planning, it may be very easy to get focused on what will happen to her property after she dies. Indeed, this is a very important question, as poor estate planning can mean an estate gets tangled up in lengthy and expensive litigation.
Likewise, an inadequate estate plan could mean an estate winds up paying more taxes or other costs than it otherwise would have. However, it is important for a person not to overlook his planning for what will happen as he ages or should he suffer from an illness or injury.
After all, in these circumstances, a person may not be physically or mentally capable of making critical financial and personal decisions himself.
A Healthcare Power of Attorney should be included in an estate plan
This is the main reason why estate plans should ordinarily include a Healthcare Directive and, specifically a Healthcare Power of Attorney.
New Jersey law allows residents to use a Healthcare Power of Attorney to appointment a trusted person to make medical decisions on her behalf if she is unable to speak for herself.
These decisions can include more routine items, like the choice of a physician; however, the person appointed can also make medical decisions that could be the difference between life and death.
It is very important for a person to consider all the legal and other implications of appointing someone to represent him in healthcare decisions. Likewise, the Healthcare Power of Attorney must follow New Jersey law exactly in order to be effective.
Financial powers of attorney are also important
A financial power of attorney is also an important piece of any estate plan. Although it might not involve life or death, a properly executed power of attorney can give a trusted person or institution the ability to control a person’s assets should she be unable to do so herself.
This document will allow the attorney in fact to continue to manage a person’s financial affairs in the hopes that doing so will preserve assets.