The two “must have” documents you need to be prepared

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In the State of Michigan there are two “must have” documents you need to have right now.  The patient advocate designation and your will are designed to help others know what your wishes are for medical treatment and the distribution of your assets upon death.

A Patient Advocate Designation (PAD) form allows you to set forth the types and the amount of care you want to receive when you are in the hospital and are unable to participate in your medical care decisions.  You name an individual to be your Patent Advocate who then is vested with the authority to make medical decisions for you when you are incapacitated.  For example, if you are in a serious accident and are unconscious, the Patient Advocate can make medical decisions for you based on the instructions you put forth in the PAD.  You can pre-determine the amount and extent of care you want to receive.

A Will is a document that provides instruction on who is to receive the proceeds of your estate upon your death.  You are able to set forth what assets are to go to specific individuals or charities.  If you have minor children, you can state whom you want to take care of your children in the event of your death.  If you don’t have a will at the time of your death you will be deemed to have died “intestate” and your estate will be divided pursuant to Michigan statutes that will determine your heirs and the shares that they will receive.  A will can be as simple or complex as you need it to be.

I recommend that you consult with an attorney who has experience in estate planning so that you understand all of your options.