The Importance of Estate Planning in Light of COVID-19
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are considering whether their personal affairs are in order. This global health crisis has forced people to imagine worst-case scenarios and to confront the unknown. Many people are wondering what will happen if they become seriously ill or unexpectedly pass away. In these times of uncertainty, ensuring that your wishes are known and legally protected by properly executed estate planning documents can bring you peace of mind. The estate planning process can be overwhelming and confusing, but the attorneys at Palecek, McIlvaine, Hoffmann & Morse are ready to assist you in establishing these important documents.
Your advance directives, otherwise known as a Durable General Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, and Living Will, are crucial documents to your estate plan. The Durable General Power of Attorney allows you to designate an agent to make financial decisions for you. Similarly, the Health Care Power of Attorney allows you to give an agent of your choosing the authority to make medical decisions for you in the event that you become incapacitated. The Living Will gives instructions related to your end-of-life treatment and your wishes regarding the use of life support.
When you pass away, having a Last Will and Testament or a Revocable Living Trust will ease the burden placed on your loved ones. A Will is a legal document that lays out your wishes for after your death, whereas a Revocable Living Trust becomes effective immediately upon execution.
A Will allows you to designate an Executor to manage the probate process and provides you with control over how your assets will be distributed upon your death. Within a Will, you can also name a Guardian to take care of your minor children in the event something should happen to you.
A Revocable Living Trust holds and provides management of your assets. Your assets are used for your benefit during your lifetime, and the Trust names beneficiaries to receive your Trust assets upon your death. A Trust controls when your assets are distributed to your beneficiaries, it can reduce or eliminate estate taxes, and when funded correctly, it allows you to avoid the Probate Court.
When properly executed, both of these documents ensure that you can provide for and protect your loved ones, even after you’re gone.
Revisiting Your Documents
If you already have an estate plan in place, it is recommended that you revisit your documents to make sure that your plan still adequately represents your wishes. As time passes and circumstances change, it is important that your estate planning documents are updated to ensure that they reflect your current goals.
The Estate Planning attorneys at Palecek, McIlvaine, Hoffmann & Morse have the experience and knowledge necessary to prepare these important documents for you. We will work diligently to make sure that you have an estate plan in place that meets your needs, and we look forward to doing our part to bring you peace of mind in times of uncertainty.
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