Getting your affairs in order creates a sense of peace. This can be especially true given the current uncertainties related to the Coronavirus.
Here are three planning tools that bring greater peace of mind.
First, have a current and state-specific health care power of attorney. This document allows someone else to care for you if you become sick and incapacitated. When properly drafted and completed, you can state primary and contingent caretakers. Additionally, you can state your desires with regard to your care.
Second, you should have a durable financial power of attorney. Similar to a health care power of attorney, this document appoints someone to handle your financial affairs if you were incapacitated. This document gives your agent authority to pay your bills, file your taxes or handle other financial aspects of your life. Without a durable financial power of attorney, your family and friends will be required to go through a judicial guardianship and conservatorship process.
Third, for over twenty-five years, I have experienced first hand the peace of mind that comes to clients when they properly prepare and properly sign their will and trust. Please note an emphasis on “properly” prepared and “properly” executed will and trust.
Throughout my career, I have dealt with hundreds of homemade wills and trusts. Although homemade apple pie is often better than a pie from a bakery, that is rarely the case with a do-it- yourself will or trust! I am certain of this regardless of what the promoters may say on the internet. If you make errors when drawing up a will or a trust yourself, or if you fail to get it witnessed correctly, this could render the document invalid. Common mistakes include misapplied legal terms, not knowing tax-saving actions, not understanding proper probate avoidance techniques and failing to sign the documents correctly.
The price paid for proper planning from an estate planning attorney and the peace of mind that comes with it, is almost always a better bargain than the self-prepared package frequently promoted.
I hope this helps you understand the basic and essential components of a proper estate plan.
During this period of social isolation, the Law Offices of Barney McKenna and Olmstead have modified procedures so that all aspects of the estate planning process can be completed remotely through phone, computer or mail.
Jeffery J. McKenna is a local attorney serving clients in Nevada, Arizona and Utah. He is a shareholder at the law firm of Barney McKenna & Olmstead, PC, with offices in Mesquite and St. George. If you have questions you would like addressed in these articles, you can contact him at (435) 628-1711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.