The Law Office of
Diane H. Gold
Estate planning is not just for the rich and famous. Everyone needs a plan that specifies how your assets are to be distributed, your financial responsibilities met, and your health care decisions made. Estate planning focuses on these three goals:

  • An estate plan provides authority to someone else to make medical decisions for you when you are unable. It also gives that person instructions regarding the level of care you want.

  • An estate plan provides authority for another person to pay your bills, manage your money, and generally oversee your finances.

  • An estate plan specifies how you would like your assets distributed after your demise. If you fail to implement an estate plan, state law directs how your assets will be divided.

The Law Office of Diane H. Gold can assist you by preparing individualized documents that will insure that your wishes are known and carried out. These documents include a Will, Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy, and HIPAA Release. In addition, if your asset level would result in a federal and/or state estate tax, or you want greater control of how your assets are distributed, we can also prepare the appropriate Trusts: Revocable Trusts, Irrevocable Trusts, and Supplemental and Special Needs Trusts.

Following is a description of the documents needed to insure that your wishes are known and carried out:

Your Will is the document in which you specify how you want your property and assets to be distributed. It nominates the person (the Executor) that you would like to be in charge of implementation of your Will. It is also important to name a successor Executor in the event that your Executor is unable or unwilling to serve. If you have minor children, your Will can specify who you want to serve as your children’s Guardian.

We encourage you to not only include your wishes in your Will, but to discuss your wishes with your family members.

It is important that your Executor have certain powers so that he or she can effectively and efficiently distribute your assets, sell any property that needs to be sold, pay any taxes or other bills that may be due, and close your estate. We work with you to make sure that your executor has the powers to do what needs to be done.

Durable Power of Attorney
Your Durable Power of Attorney gives authority to another person (your “Attorney-in-Fact”) to manage your finances and pay your bills if you are unable to do so. The Durable Power of Attorney permits access to your bank accounts, investment accounts, and other monetary assets to take care of you and your needs. Because it can convey power over your assets to another person, it is important that it be drafted carefully and with appropriate limits as to the powers that it conveys. It can be drafted to take effect immediately upon signing or only upon your incapacity. It can specify the conditions under which it will be put into effect. It is valid only during your lifetime.
It is important to realize that your Durable Power of Attorney might not be exercised for many years after the document is signed. As a result, at The Law Office of Diane H. Gold, we encourage you to name a successor Attorney-in-Fact in case the primary person you name is unable or unwilling to serve in this capacity.

Health Care Proxy
A Health Care Proxy gives authority to another person to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make your wishes known to your doctors and other health care professionals. This is the document that might have spared Terri Schiavo and her family the pain of the legal battles that ensued following her unexpected illness and incapacity.
The Health Care Proxy allows you to specifywhat medical procedures you would or would not authorize, but we encourage you to discuss your particular wishes with all of your family members, not just the person to whom you give power under your Health Care Proxy.

HIPAA Release
Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), medical providers are required to keep your personally identifiable medical information private unless you authorize its release. A HIPAA Release is a separate document that authorizes your health care providers to release your medical information to whomever you name. The HIPAA Release can name more than just your Health Care Proxy as an authorized recipient of your medical information. This document makes sure that those who need to know about your medical situation have access to that information and can then make informed decisions about your care.