Spring is the time of year when we customarily remind our clients and friends to think about their estate plans and we encourage them to take the steps to ensure that their estate planning documents truly reflect their current wishes and needs. This is just as relevant today as it has ever been. While we are stuck at home, we may have the time to dust off our documents, especially if they were prepared years ago, and make sure that they still reflect our wishes. Are the people that we appointed as agents or fiduciaries still the best people for the job? Do they still live in the same place? Have our relationships changed? Perhaps our children have now grown to adulthood and are ready to assume the roles we gave to others. Are the beneficiaries still the people we care most about? Are they capable of handling the assets they inherit? Do you want to protect a beneficiary’s inheritance from potential creditors? Or from a divorcing spouse? Are any beneficiaries likely to receive governmental benefits? Will their inheritance interfere with those benefits? Have you appointed guardians for your minor children and are those guardians still the best people to serve? Have changes in the law impacted your estate plan? We are here to help you answer these questions and to recommend changes that might augment your existing plan.
If you have never executed estate planning documents, now is the time to do so. Think about what you want. Consider who might be your best advocate to make decisions for you if you are unable to communicate with doctors and health care professionals. Who will best carry out your wishes? Who do you trust to handle your financial affairs if, during your life, you become incapacitated? Who will manage your affairs after you pass away and ensure that your beneficiaries receive whatever it is that you intended them to receive? We can help you work through these questions and devise a plan that meets your needs. Executing a valid, enforceable and comprehensive power of attorney, empowering the person you trust to act on your behalf with regard to your financial matters during your lifetime and, perhaps, transfer assets to render you eligible for Medicaid and other benefits is particularly important during times like these. Equally as important is the execution of a valid and enforceable health care proxy.