By: Morgan Roehrig
In times like these, people are not only focused on their health, but on how their loved ones may be taken care of now and in the future. Eveyone’s health and future are affected not just by decisions that they make, but by decisions made by total strangers.
The severity and uncertainty of COVID-19 has prompted many people to consider their estate plan and how they can further protect and provide for their family upon their death or incapacity.
Important questions for consideration include:
What will happen to your finances if you become too sick to manage your own affairs?
If you become incapacitated and are unable to handle your finances, a Durable Power of Attorney appoints an agent to act on your behalf. Your attorney-in-fact can be appointed to pay bills, manage your bank and investment accounts, file taxes, apply for government benefits, and buy and sell real estate, to name a few such “powers.”
What will happen if you are incapacitated and unable to make healthcare decisions for yourself?
A Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare appoints an agent with authority to make healthcare decisions for you.
A Health Care Declaration enables you to express what medical procedures (called “death prolonging procedures”) you do or do not want if you are incapacitated or have a terminal condition and can no longer convey your wishes.
What will happen to your assets upon your death?
A Last Will and Testament states your wishes as to what will happen to your assets after your death. This document will handle distribution of your property, possessions, and money, among other assets, and if you have minor children, enables you to nominate who you want to be appointed as their guardian subject to the court’s approval after a hearing following your death. It may be more beneficial for your assets to be held in a Trust, or for you to simply designate various accounts as “Transfer on Death.” Assigning or leaving assets after your death may depend on where real estate is held and the laws of each state, so it’s important to speak with an attorney to understand your options and different state laws rather than handling these matters yourself.
Attorneys at Paule, Camazine and Blumenthal understand that estate planning is a difficult topic to discuss and we are available to walk you through the process at your convenience.