Planning for your future is always a good idea. The basics of estate planning include 5 documents that will assist both you and your loved ones in managing your property and medical care.
- Release of Information:
The Release of Information form allows your healthcare provider to discuss your medical care and medical bills with those you designate. This document does not allow those designees to make any decisions on your behalf. Your treating healthcare provider generally provides this document.
- Durable Power of Attorney: A power of attorney grants a designated person the legal authority to act on your behalf. Depending on how they are written, these document may be effective when they are signed, when you have become incapacitated or upon some other triggering event. An attorney or other legal services may prepare this document on your behalf.
- Advance Directive: An Advance Directive is a document that describes the type(s) of medical care you want and don’t want when you are unable to express those wishes yourself. This document is available on the Missouri Bar website at www.mobar.org.
- Healthcare Power of Attorney: A healthcare power of attorney grants a designated person the legal authority to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. An Advance Directive provides some guidance but a healthcare power of attorney gives your designee the ability to make decisions for you that are not directly addressed in the Advance Directive. Generally, the healthcare power of attorney cannot violate your Advance Directive. This document is available on the Missouri Bar website at www.mobar.org.
- Living Will or Living Trust: A living will or living trust describes how you wish your property to be distributed after death and designates who will oversee that distribution. Proper estate planning can reduce administrative costs and taxes as well as relieving your loved ones of the burden of figuring out how you wished your property to be distributed. An attorney or other legal services may prepare this document on your behalf.
Brian Reinhold is an attorney with a background in medical negligence litigation, having represented both plaintiffs and healthcare providers. Brian manages all claims and litigation for Lutheran Senior Services, St. Louis’ largest not-for-profit, as well as oversees investigations and responses to regulatory matters. In addition, Brian develops and provides training on preparing for and responding to adverse events.