The Coronavirus Pandemic is a daily reminder that life is unpredictable, but in these uncertain times, it is beneficial to be prepared. This unprecedented COVID-19 crisis is an appropriate reason to review your current estate plan or create one if you do not have one. It is important to make sure you have your critical estate planning documents in place to protect yourself and your family.
The foundational documents for an estate plan include your Last Will and Testament, Medical Directive and Durable Power of Attorney. The primary purpose of these documents is overseeing the management and distribution of assets. These documents also designate representatives to make your financial and health care decisions. Each document has legal signing and witnessing requirements that must be satisfied to be effective.
A Last Will and Testament is a legal document that coordinates the distribution of your assets after death. It lets your loved ones know who you want to inherit your assets and how you want your assets to be distributed to them. In your Will, you designate an executor, or person who carries out the provisions of the Will. Your Will may contain special provisions or trusts for the benefit of children. Additionally, you can designate a legal guardian for your minor children in your Will. However, if you do not have a Will, at the time of your death, the law and the courts will make the decisions about how to distribute your assets to your family. Additionally, if you do not have a Will, a judge will appoint someone to serve as the Administrator of your Estate.
A Medical Directive is a legal document that lets your family and health care providers know your wishes for your end of life care when you are not able to make them known. It allows you to appoint a person to be your Health Care Power of Attorney to make decisions for you when you are no longer able to make them yourself.
A General Durable Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives someone else the authority and power to act on your behalf. It is broad in scope and allows another person to act on your behalf, in your best interests, for legal and financial purposes, such as banking, signing documents, bringing lawsuits, and filing taxes.
If you already have your estate plans, it is important to review them and review your beneficiary designations on your policies and accounts to ensure that they are up to date to reflect any major life changes, such as marriage, divorce, death, or the birth of a child. Taking the time to review or create your plans will give you peace of mind knowing that you have clearly expressed your wishes for your family and loved ones and that your estate plan is legally enforceable.
If you are interested in an estate planning checkup, considering creating your estate plans, or have concerns regarding your Estate, call Lauren A. Talty, Esquire at McDowell Law, PC at (856) 482-5544 to schedule an estate planning consult.
This article does not create an attorney-client relationship. This article is legal information and should not be seen as legal advice. You should consult with an attorney before you rely on this information.