Take a moment to stop and think about your family. Is your spouse protected if you are severally injured or die in a car accident? Are you prepared for a life crisis? Are you prepared in the event you receive a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer's? Are your children protected if both parents die? if you have a child with a disability what is your plan? Who will be a care manager or a guardian? People work to provide a home, a quality of life; yet, many fail to put an estate plan in place. This is for your family and the love of estate planning.
Estate Plan and a Life Crisis
In a previous blog, I talked about dying without a Last Will and Testament. In this one, I want to explore why you need an estate plan, especially during a life crisis. Let's take a scenario of a car accident. Your badly injured and medical decisions need to be made. You probably think your spouse can automatically make those decisions just because you're married. Not true. Absent a power of attorney, marriage does not automatically create a spousal right to make decisions as a health care agent. Your spouse needs a health care power of attorney to make decisions.
What if both you and your spouse are hospitalized and incapacitated-what happens? Who will make the health care decisions? Who will take care of your finances and pay your bills? What if you need long term care? Do you have powers of attorney in place? Again you need to put a Health Care power of attorney and a Financial power of attorney in place. An estate plan provides a road map for your assets and helping you in time of incapacity or death.
End of Life Decisions
Let's look at that one subject many shy from-death. Do you have an Advance Health Directive? Missouri offers a basic state form for free. However, it does not cover all the areas you may need to consider. For example, if you are Catholic, you may want to have a living will that aligns with your religious beliefs, and requests a priest for anointing of the sick. Perhaps you are an Orthodox Jew and prefer an Halachic living will so that others you appoint as an agent makes decisions that align with your Jewish law and faith. Seniors may want to include decisions about VSED (volunatry stop eating and drinking) before incapacity occurs from dementia and Alzheimers. It's important to have an Advance Health Care Directive in place.
Children and Estate Planning
Let's return to a major life crisis and that car accident. You're injured and hospitalized. Do you have a temporary guardian to care for your children? Who will pick the children up from school and take care of them? What if one spouse is in the hospital and one spouse dies? What is your plan for your children? An Estate Plan helps give you peace of mind for a life crisis event. You have a plan in place to take care of your children.
Seniors and Incapacity
What happens if you're a Senior and incapacitated? Do you want your adult children to make decisions for you? If your children are not living near, do you have other trusted people you can reach out to? If something is going on with you, do your children know and understand what you want? Do they know you have an estate plan in place to help with incapacity? Perhaps, you think adding your child to bank accounts is a good step. However, it is not the best appropriate step to take. Why? talk to your estate ally attorneys for an answer. A living trust provides life and legacy plans that give you peace of mind, and instructions to others who need to take actions on your behalf.
Estate Planning and the Surviving Spouse
Life events happen to all of us. How will you plan for your surviving spouse? Why is an estate plan necessary? People think that the best marriage plan is to put everything in joint names. If a surviving spouse remarries and you have children together, it's possible your children may never receive anything from you. If the surviving spouse is a second marriage, how do you protect your spouse and children from a first marriage? It's good to sit down and talk to an attorney and find solutions to fit your family needs.
Your Estate Ally Attorneys
It's easy to download forms and sign your name. However, you risk not having the best solutions in place to help you and your family in case of incapacity and death. Your Estate Ally is a firm of attorneys dedicated to educating you about estate planning and tailoring a plan that fits. We give personal care service for your peace of mind. Call us today for a complimentary consultation: 314-998-4223 or 314-332-0011. Book now (48 hour to 14 day advance) Book time with Sheri Tucker