These are challenging times.
The rapid spread of COVID-19 has caused major disruptions to virtually all aspects of our lives. Churches are closed. Schools are closed. Small, “non-essential” businesses are closed. The healthcare system is at a breaking point.
We ask, or should be asking ourselves, questions about Estate Plan arrangements, especially if it’s not in place yet. For example, if I contract Coronavirus and require hospitalization and/or become physically incapacitated, who will be my advocate to respectfully handle my medical and financial decisions? If I should not survive, who is the person to properly handle my estate and pay my financial debts? Whom should I trust to securely distribute my property to those persons who I wish to receive my property? These are the questions you should be asking, and that we can answer.
A typical Estate Plan will consist of the following documents:
Advanced Healthcare Directive
Directs the specific types of treatments you do and do not want when you are unable to make decisions. You authorize another person to act on your behalf, commonly known as your “agent” to see that your wishes are carried out.
Durable Power of Attorney
Authorizes your agent on your behalf for any number of purposes spelled out, including but not limited to: financial matters, insurance, tax reporting, contracts and the like.
Authorizes a trustee, someone who is usually the creator of the trust, to hold title and manage your assets during life. They also thereafter distribute-assets on your death to those beneficiaries you select. The trust may also be revised during life. Any assets titled under your own individual name and without a beneficiary designation, or are not in a Revocable Trust, are typically subject to probate procedure. This is a Revocable Trust that is essential in the planning process as it provides the following: avoids legal fees, court costs and hassles of a court probate administration, preserves privacy and greatly simplifies the transfer of your estate. The trust must be properly funded with assets during life to accomplish its goals.
Pour Over Will
Serves as a safety device to capture or direct to your Revocable Trust any assets on your death that were inadvertently left out of the Revocable Trust. The Pour Over Will insures that these excluded assets are distributed to those beneficiaries of your Trust.
Certain assets may not be owned by Revocable Trusts such as IRA’S, defined contribution plan interests, defined benefits and the like. With these assets, it is common to designate beneficiaries on the financial institution’s forms.
We Are Here For You
With over 38 years of law practice, Jeffrey Pape is highly recognized by his peers, having received some of the highest ratings attainable in the profession. The Law Firm of Jeffrey B. Pape will continue its mission to provide personal, quality, timely and cost effective representation in spite of the Coronavirus.