Wednesday, January 4, 2017

What's a Waiver, and What's a Waiver For?


A waiver, according to dictionary.com, is an intentional relinquishment of a right or interest. A mom, for example, might sign a waiver saying the school is not responsible if her child is hurt while on the school trip.  When it comes to estate planning, there are several important uses of waiver.

HIPAA waivers
Every doctor and hospital has you sign a notice ensuring that health care providers will keep information about your treatment and your health history private. But what happens if you’ve given healthcare power of attorney to a family member or friend in case an accident or illness prevents you from making decisions? What if your estate includes a living will, perhaps including a “Do Not Resuscitate” order? The HIPAA waiver can ensure that health care providers will be allowed to “violate” your privacy and talk about your condition with those specific people you’ve named as your representatives.

Waivers of inheritance
Estate law allows heirs named in a will to disclaim their inheritance by notifying the executor of the estate and filing a written waiver with the court. Why would anyone choose to do that?
  • To avoid taxes
  • To avoid having to look after property
  • To help someone else who needs the money more
  • To protect the property from seizure by creditors (if the person is involved in a lawsuit or has filed bankruptcy)
Prenuptial agreements
With more people getting married for the second or third time and wanting to preserve assets for children from prior marriages, prenuptial agreements typically have one spouse waiving his or her claim to the other’s estate (usually in return for other considerations).

401(k) beneficiary waivers
According to the law, the automatic beneficiary of 401(k) plan assets in the owner’s spouse’s . However, the spouse can sign a waiver allowing the employee to name a different beneficiary.

What’s a waiver, we’re asked at Geyer Law? Answer: The opposite of cookie-cutter estate planning. What’s a waiver for? To allow us as estate planning attorneys to tailor your estate plan to fit your own needs and individual situation.
- by Rebecca W. Geyer

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