One thing is for certain. Life is full of uncertainty. Natural disasters, disruption in the economy, and illnesses can lead to loss of property, jobs, health, and, yes, even death.
While we cannot control the next catastrophe, what we can do is prepare to be in a better position to care for our families, finances, and medical decisions in emergency situations.
Although it’s easier to avoid the issue in the short term, an unexpected life-changing event can occur at any time and at any age. It can leave you wondering what, if anything, you could have done to be more prepared and ensure your wishes are carried out without undue burden on your family.
Two important documents should be in your estate plan.
Durable Power of Attorney
This document will control what happens to your affairs while you are still alive and unable to manage them by yourself. If you don’t have a Durable Power of Attorney when you get sick or incapacitated, how will your everyday financial business be conducted? Who will pay the mortgage, utilities, insurance, etc.?
Even if your spell of illness is short, you may miss important deadlines. If your incapacity lasts longer, your family may have to go to court to pursue legal guardianship and conservatorship, which is expensive, time-consuming, and distressful.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care with Advance Health Care Directive
In the event you can no longer make medical decisions for yourself, this document allows you to appoint somebody else to make them for you. If you do not have Advance Health Care Directive language in your Power of Attorney, your family will be at a loss as to what to do for your end-of-life care because there is no guidance as to your wishes.
It’s never too soon to develop your estate plan. Although it’s easy to put off, doing this planning now will help give you the peace of mind that you and your family will be cared for in the future. If you already have your estate plan in place, be sure to do your annual document review and contact us if you have a beneficiary change.
417 Business & Elder Law also offers convenient virtual and in-person meetings to fit your busy schedule. We’re here to guide you through your estate planning process so you’re better prepared when the unexpected arises.
This article was also published in the printed version of the Volume 7 Issue 1 Apr 2021 Newsletter (PDF).
Please call our office at (417) 887-4170 if you have any questions about this article or would like to receive our mailed newsletter.