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Basic Health and Financial-Planning Documents

HEALTH-RELATED DOCUMENTS
Name of document Legal title of owner When document used Function of document When document becomes effective

Health Care Proxy

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Principal During lifetime of principal

Appoints a health care agent to make medical decisions, in accordance with principal's wishes, if principal is unable.

 

Upon incapacity of principal to make health care choices

Living Will

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Principal During lifetime of principal Lists medical treatments principal does not (or does) want, if unable to make own medical decisionsat a specified level of physical decline.*

Upon incapacity of principal to make healthcare choices and upon meeting the specified level of decline set forth in the document.

 

* Typically, " I do not wish life-sustaining treatment. If I am [e.g.] permanently unconscious."

PROPERTY-RELATED DOCUMENTS
Name of document Legal title of owner When document used Function of document When document becomes effective

Durable Power of Attorney

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Principal During lifetime of principal

Appoints agent called "Attorney-in-Fact," to manage financial and business matters.

 

Upon notarization of both principals and agent’s signatures

Will

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Testator After death of Testator Lists testator's wishes for distribution of assets, and appoints agent, called "executor," to collect and distribute them. Upon death of testator

 

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