Lessons in the Law October Report
Critical Family Protection Plan-Time to Put Your Estate Plan in Place!
This is still the time of year when many of us take stock of our lives getting ready for the holidays. We might declutter our homes, take on new personal challenges and start to decorate our homes for the holidays. Estate planning should be on our minds as we spend more time with our families.
That’s why now is a perfect time to get a solid plan in place in the event the unexpected happens, like death or sudden illness. If you have money, if you have a family, you need to have a plan.
The key components to a well-planned estate include a will, a living will and a durable power of attorney for finances and healthcare. If you get sick or die, these are the basic documents that you need to have in place. I call it having a Critical Family Protection Plan because these documents are vital to protecting yourself and your estate.
Most spouses think they are automatically protected against asset loss because they are married, but that is not the case. If you aren’t joint on property or bank accounts and investments and a spouse gets sick, you may have to go through probate court and have a guardian appointed who will make the decisions as to which bills get paid and what monies are used. In the meantime, all accounts may be frozen and you cannot access any funds. It can be devastating, emotionally and personally. If you are incapacitated, precious time will be lost while your family struggles to get a guardian appointed because you didn’t have a plan in place. Nobody will have the power to make decisions on your behalf until the court appoints a guardian. This could cost you valuable time and money.
Now is the time to review your estate plan and have discussions with your family so that when you contact your attorney everyone will be on the same page and understand what type of planning is necessary.
Questions, comments or ideas about future articles contact me at jurban.gcu@GCUusa.com.
Atty. John J. Urban