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Estate plans should involve more than just wills and trusts

Another week has passed and another Hollywood figure has lost his life to an unexpected medical emergency. Director John Singleton was only 51 years old when he suffered a stroke and was taken off of life support by his loved ones. As he survived in a coma in a California hospital prior to his death, his mother and children were in court fighting over whom should be able to control his medical and financial affairs.

When a person does not have several important estate planning tools in place, family members may disagree on how to manage their loved one's needs during the incapacitation period before their loved one's death. Medical and financial powers of attorney are important devices that give control to named individuals when just such situations arise.

A health care power of attorney gives a named individual the right to manage and end an incapacitated person's medical care. Such a device grants a proxy the power to keep a person on life support if that is the person's wishes. Simply put, a health care power of attorney is a tool with which a person can communicate their health care wishes while they are still able to do so. A financial power of attorney functions similarly as it gives a named person the power to pay bills, manage assets and perform other financial functions for someone who is unable to do so on their own.

There is no reason for California residents to hold off on starting their estate plans, and attorneys in Torrance and throughout Southern California can help them protect their rights and interests. Current events regularly demonstrate the problems that can happen when individuals do not take care of their own estate planning needs and the struggles families can encounter when estate plans are not created.

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