Right now, we are all going through stressful times as a nation in 2020. There is a global pandemic creating a lot of anxiety and isolation. There is an election. There has been extreme economic loss and business uncertainty.
Just when you think you can’t take another thing, something else pops up (like Murder Hornets).
The last thing you want to have to worry about when going through a stressful time, like the loss of a loved one, is making sure that their finances and estate are in order.
You wouldn’t want to go to probate court to receive your loved ones benefits and fight through a frustrating process during such an uncertain time.
At Marler Law Partners, we are committed to helping our community through hard times. In April and May, we ran the “100 Wills For Goodwill” campaign to help essential workers and those facing financial hardship prepare their wills and estate plans.
These documents are critical for anyone – estate planning is not just for people with a lot of money!
Even a simple estate plan can save you an immense amount of time and money.
Although we are not offering the free will signings currently, we are still holding free consultations year-round for our community.
Read below on how to best maximize your Marler Law Partners free will and estate planning consultation.
Essential Estate Planning Documents
An estate plan can be made up of many things. Most people think of the last will & testament as the most essential part of an estate plan; however, there are many other pieces included that you may already have in the works. These include:
If you’ve ever had major surgery, a hospital has likely provided you with an advance directive packet.
The purpose of this document is for you to state your preferences as to the use or non-use of extraordinary life-sustaining measures in the event of your imminent death or other similar situations.
For example, you are unconscious with no prospect of waking up or you have lost your thinking capacity with no prospect of regaining it. Essentially, your Do Not Resuscitate.
Medical Power Of Attorney
Although similar to your advanced directive, the medical power of attorney appoints another individual to make decisions about your health.
In the event you are incapacitated and unable to make decisions on your own behalf, this individual would direct the doctors on your care and wishes.
It is best to have the tough conversations with this person on your wishes regarding the extreme measures taken to save your life.
Durable Power Of Attorney
The person who is given your durable power of attorney is in charge of your finances in the case that you are incapacitated mentally or physically.
They would handle your finances until you recover or until your death.
IRA & Retirement Benefits Packages
Many times, when you are filling out benefit packages for work, you have to designate who you would like the funds or benefits to be given in the case of your death.
Bringing any documents like this can be useful to determine which of your benefits have and have not been directed to someone.
Important Information About Your Loved Ones
Consider which loved ones you would like your funds and belongings directed to. In order to fill out the necessary paperwork, you may need information like their date of birth, social security number, current address, etc.
If you are married, it makes the most sense to direct everything to your spouse.
However, you may want to consider having other friends or family listed in the event your spouse passes away before you.
Or, if you have children with someone other than your current spouse, you may want to direct some of the funds directly to your children. Consider these nuances before your meeting.
And if you’re still unsure? That is what your attorney and your estate planning consultation are for. They have crafted many estate plans and will know the right questions to ask to build the best estate plan for your family and your unique circumstances.
Something that has been added to many modern wills and estate plans is the transfer of digital assets.
Consider all of your online accounts: social media accounts, email addresses, online billing and banking, digital storage, just to name a few.
It’s important that someone is put in charge of either disabling, archiving or deleting those accounts upon your death.
Many platforms, like Facebook, have a “legacy plan” for their users where they can designate someone to take over their page in an event that their death has been reported to the platform.
Others, like financial institutions, will deactivate any accounts once they begin working with the family on the transfer of assets.
Estate Planning Protects Your Legacy For Your Family
We hope you find our tips helpful!
If you decide to formally sign a will and protect your assets for your loved ones, we’ve got your back!
Book a free estate planning consult with one of our attorneys to learn more about the process and how it can make your life easier.