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The 3 Most Important Legal Documents for ANYONE Over 18

Having a powerful Durable Power of Attorney for Finances, Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions and HIPAA Releases can save you and your family an enormous amount of money, time, aggravation and heartache.

Durable Power of Attorney for Finances

Having this document in place can keep your family from having to go to Probate Court to set up a Conservatorship so that they can handle your finances.  If you are married, you and your spouse are probably on all assets.  However, tax deferred assets like an IRA, ROTH, 401(k) and most life insurance policies are in individual names.  Unless your Durable Power of Attorney specifically mentions those types of assets, your financial institution or life insurance company may not accept the Durable Power of Attorney.

Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care

Many people believe telling their family their health care wishes are sufficient.  The law says that your must put your wishes in writing and appoint someone to make decisions for you.  Just because you are married does not give your spouse the ability to make health care decisions for you.  This is especially important if you do not wish to be kept alive indefinitely by artificial means (feeding tube and ventilator).  If you don’t have a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, then your family will need to go to Probate Court to have someone appointed as your Guardian to be able to make health care decisions for you.

HIPAA Releases

Medical personnel can be fined between $50,000 and $1,000,000 a year for speaking to a family member that you have not given written permission for them to talk to.  HIPAA Releases allow you to designate who, over the age of 18, can know about your private medical life.  People listed on a HIPAA Release DO NOT make health care decisions for you.  They do have the ability to call the hospital to check on you and can be present when a doctor is giving a report or test results.

The HIPAA Releases should be a separate document from your Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care.  The Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care can not go into effect until a doctor declares that you are incapable of making your own health care decisions.  If you are unconscious due to a car accident, you still want your family to be able talk to the doctor without being declared incompetent.

FYI – HIPAA stand for the Hospital Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996

May is National Elder Law Month!

Many people prepare for death by having a Will or Trust drawn up.  But the real question is,

“What if I don’t die, but get sick and need care?”

Are you, your family and your assets  protected? Come to one of our free workshops and learn what can  happen to you or your clients if you aren’t prepared.

We always encourage people to “get there ducks in a row” and make sure all of their legal documents are up to date and work for each individual’s Elder Care Journey.  We believe above all other legal documents you need to make sure you have The 3 Most Important Documents. That includes a Durable Power of Attorney, a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and HIPAA documents.

Call us today at 636-394-0009 to register for a workshop or to learn more, or if you would like to learn more about the Elder Care Journey or The 3 Most Important Documents.


National Healthcare Decisions Day

April 16th is National Healthcare Decisions Day

 The goal is to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning.

Nobody wakes up and says:

“I think I’ll have a stroke today.” 

Don’t get stuck with inadequate documents.  Make sure your Durable Power of Attorney and Health Care Durable Power of Attorney are powerful yet flexible to take care of whatever life throws at you.  Don’t forget we review    Durable Powers of Attorney and Health Care Durable Powers of Attorney for FREE! Call us to schedule an appointment to have your documents reviewed.


January Resolutions

January is a great time to set resolutions for weight loss, exercising and eating better, and spending more time with your loved ones.  It is also a great time to think about those things which we tend to “put off” like estate planning.

No one wakes up and says, “I think I will have a heart attack and die today.”  Or “I think I will have a stroke today and need care for the rest of my life.”

Being prepared gives you and your family the most options to protect yourself, your family and your assets.  Make January or February your time to take control of YOUR estate plan. Make you sure you are PREPARED.

Call today 636-394-0009 to attend on of our FREE Workshops on February 18th at 10:00 a.m. or February 23rd at 6:30 p.m. or you can view all of our upcoming workshops and sign up through our Events page.

Money Talk | Money Talk Radio Show

Rick (Vouga) was featured on Money Talk with Bob Hardcastle on 9/15/2013 talking about “The 3 Most Important Documents EVERYONE Should Have At The Age of 18.  Click on the link for the recorded version

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The 3 Most Important Documents EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE starting at the AGE of 18


EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE starting at the AGE of 18

A Durable Power of Attorney (for finances) appoints someone to act on your behalf if you are no longer capable of handling your finances.  Without a valid and powerful Durable Power of Attorney, the family will be forced to apply for a Conservatorship through the Probate Court to pay bills and handle Importantinvestments.  Without having in writing who you wish to handle your affairs, the Court may appoint someone you would not have chosen to handle things for you.  A powerful and properly drawn Durable Power of Attorney will allow the person you appoint to protect assets for your quality of life and quality of care.

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What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a simple (but very important) legal form.  With this document, you can give a specific person the authority to make decisions on your behalf.  This makes the Power of Attorney a valuable tool for many situations, ranging from business transactions to medical care.

Although the person you name as your agent (attorney-in-fact) in a Power of Attorney does not need to be an attorney, he or she should be ethical, trustworthy, and responsible.  In most cases, your agent will have access to your bank accounts and other sensitive information that could be abused in the wrong hands. Your agent will have a moral and legal responsibility to act only in your best interests, so it is very important to select someone who takes that responsibility seriously.

There are several different types of Power of Attorney forms, all of which have different uses and benefits.  Business people who travel often may want to set up a Power of Attorney for child care or other personal purposes.  It’s also possible to create a temporary Power of Attorney, so that someone can act for you on a one-time basis (such as a sale of stock).  Many elderly, disabled or special needs people use Power of Attorney documents to make their daily lives easier.  Your agent can shop for you, pay bills, sign contracts, and perform many other day-to-day tasks that might be difficult for you to do yourself.

One of the most common and most important uses for a Power of Attorney is for medical situations.  In most states, this requires a special medically-focused document known as a Health Care Power of Attorney.  This can also be called a Durable Power of Attorney (among other names), depending on where you live.  This form allows your agent to make decisions about your medical care if you are ever incapacitated.  If you have specific religious or personal beliefs about certain medications, types of treatment or other medical procedures, your agent will make sure that they are respected.

Even if you don’t feel that you need a Power of Attorney for other purposes, it’s always smart to have medical arrangements in place.  If you become incapacitated without a legal medical agent, your local court will appoint someone to make medical decisions for you.  This often results in a lengthy (and expensive) legal battle, during which time extreme measures will be taken for your care that you may not have wanted.  The court will also have no obligation to select an agent who respects your preferences for treatment options, which could alter your standard of care.

If you are in the Chesterfield, MO area, give us a call and we will be happy to discuss your situation.