During times of emergency or pressing health concerns, many will find themselves in a rush to consider estate planning decisions. We want to stress that ideally, you will have taken the time to carefully consider your options and draft a complete estate plan with a qualified attorney before an emergency situation strikes.
However, that is not always the case, and so you might find yourself making critical decisions under pressure.
Get your documents in place as early as possible. If you don’t have an estate plan in place, a loved one would need to petition the court for conservatorship in order to make important financial or healthcare decisions on your behalf. This process can be time-consuming and difficult during an already stressful time. And, as we’ve seen recently in some states, courts sometimes close during a national emergency.
Make decisions for your loved ones. You will want to update beneficiary forms for items like your bank accounts, life insurance policies, and retirement accounts. If you have minor children, grandchildren, or an adult child for whom you still provide care, you need to appoint a guardian for the event that you are ill in the hospital or pass away.
Make decisions for yourself, too. Estate planning isn’t all about what happens after you’re gone. You should also craft a plan to protect your financial and health interests in the event that you’re incapacitated by illness or injury. Sometimes incapacitation is temporary, so we want to be sure that important decisions are made according to your wishes. Appointing a power of attorney for finances, as well as one for healthcare decisions, can help to meet those goals.
If you’re a business owner, you might also want to appoint a power of attorney to care for your business matters at this time.
Give us a call. We can consult with you on the financial end of things, and help you make decisions to protect your interests as well as your beneficiaries. You can take these suggestions to your estate planning attorney.