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Harry Bernstein Aug. 1, 2017

To ensure you are adequately prepared to begin the process of estate planning, it’s crucial that you obtain several key documents that will provide legally-binding financial and medical security. While it may sound like a daunting task, it’s a necessary step to ensure your assets and your loved ones are protected in the event of your death or incapacitation. The Harry Bernstein Law Offices offers estate planning services to its clients and works closely with them throughout the process.

To properly execute estate planning services, Harry Bernstein Law Offices recommends that its clients obtain the following documentation:


Often considered one of those essential parts of estate planning, a Will allows you to specify what you want done with your assets upon your death. It designates an executor or the person you chose to handle your affairs. It can also name the guardians for your minor children. Though it may be time-consuming and invasive to draft, having this document is critical. Without it, in the event of your death, disbursements are typically made according to state law.

Living Will

A living will outlines your end of life decisions regarding sustaining medical care and provides guidance to those whom you grant a Healthcare Power of Attorney. Absence of a living will can cause familial disagreements and tension and may result in your medical wishes not being executed.

Healthcare Power of Attorney

This allows individuals of your choosing to make medical decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so. Additionally, it lists your health care preferences with regard to the types of treatments, tests and medical care you want and do not want. Without a Healthcare Power of Attorney in place, your medical wishes may not be executed.

Financial Power of Attorney

This Power of Attorney appoints an individual or individuals to make financial decisions on your behalf and engage in financial transactions when you are unable to do so. Having this form completed is especially important because it can help avoid conservatorship should you become incapacitated

HIPPA Medical Authorization

By having this form completed in advance, it allows access to health care information to individuals named in your advanced health care directive and/or power of financial attorney. It authorizes those individuals to have access to your medical information. It also gives them the ability to navigate insurance and health care matters on your behalf. Nearly all medical offices, doctors, and hospitals require this to be on file before they will give access to your medical information.

Estate planning is an important step in securing your financial and medical security in the event of your death or incapacitation. These five documents will help your attorney as they guide you through the process. If you’re in need of estate planning services, please contact our office today at 216-600-0124 to schedule a consultation.