Amidst the uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, you may wish to create or update important legal documents that address the administration of your estate (if you become incapaciatted due to illness) and the distribution of your assets (if you succumb to your illness).
But, beyond the threat of contracting the Coronavirus, it is important to plan for other things like injuries, accidents, old age, and other illnesses that could result in your death or inability to make important decisions regarding your health and financial affairs.
To ensure that your loved ones are provided for, your bills will be paid, and that someone you trust will have the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf if and when something unfortunate happens to you, you need to have the right estate planning documents in place.
Moreover, how you do your estate planning can greatly affect the quality of your life and the lives of those you leave behind. A good estate plan addresses three key issues that are present for everyone, whether they are married or single, young or old, have children or not, and both during good times and bad.
These three key issues are as follows:
1. How Your Affiars Will Be Managed If You Become Incapacitated
You need to make sure that if you become incapacitated due to injury, illness, or old age, someone will be able to access your assets to provide for you and your family, pay your bills, and make medical decisions on your behalf. This means having caretakers in place in the form of trustees, executors, and/or individuals with powers of attorney.
2. The Preservation of Your Assets
You have worked a lifetime to accumulate your estate and you want to pass as much of it as you can to your loved ones. This means that you want to pay as little as possible in taxes, fees, and costs. Therefore, it is important to implement measures, such as living trusts and beneficiary designations, to protect your assets from creditors, minimize estate and transfer taxes where applicable, and to enable your assets to bypass the time and expense of probate.
3. The Distribution of Your Assets
You want to make sure that the right people receive your assets at the right time and in the right way after you die. If you do not take the necessary steps to plan for the distribution of your assets via a will, living trust, or otherwise, state law will dictate to whom and how your assets will be distributed, which may be contrary to what you would have wished. This means leaving clear instructions and designating the right person(s) to settle your estate and distribute your assets according to your wishes.
Good estate planning can shield your family from unnecessary burden and expense. Having the right estate planning documents in place will provide you and your family with both the protection and the peace of mind you desire during times of uncertainty and beyond
Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney
To learn more about how to plan for your estate, contact an experienced estate planning attorney to arrange a free consultation. For help getting started with your estate plan, contact us or sign up below for one of our events.