Have a Plan for the Unknown

Planning for the unknown alleviates burden from family, friends and doctors. Make sure that your wishes are legally spelled out to eliminate discord and confusion in the event of death, accident or emergency. 

Will

Other than birth and taxes, death is the one thing we are all certain to face.  If your assets and heirs are of importance to you, ensure you legally document how your belongings should be distributed after you die.  If you have children under the age of 18, you should appoint a guardian to gain custody.  You’ve probably spent a significant part of your life building your assets, so make sure they aren’t left to unintended beneficiaries.  Take an inventory of your valuable possessions (house, car, jewelry, furniture, investments, etc.) and determine who should inherit them, with minimum tax implications and maximum liquidity.  This reduces tremendous conflict, cost, time and publicity in probate court for your heirs to receive your bequest.     

Power of Attorney 

Appoint someone you trust to act legally on your behalf should you be unable to.  This provides peace of mind that your affairs will be taken care in care of an emergency.  You can appoint a power of attorney for a wide variety of personal or financial affairs, or for something specific.  A power of attorney can do anything that requires your signature like sell your car, trade your stocks and access you bank account and can be set up to be used only when you are unable to manage your affairs.  Powers of attorney are typically necessary if you’ve been in an accident and are unconscious/incapacitated, in jail, stuck overseas or any other reason why you may not be able to perform normal day-to-day legal activities. 

 Medical Directive  

While it’s not pleasant to think about, the reality is anyone can find themselves in a situation where they are mentally or physically unable to make decisions about their medical care.  Through medicine and machines, doctors often have the ability to preserve life at any cost – although it may not be the quality of life you would prefer.  It’s important to legally document your wishes so that your most preferred treatment is honored.  This alleviates the burden on family, friends and doctors to make these decisions for you, and can save them from unnecessary financial hardship as well.   A Medical Directive will ensure your wishes are carried out should you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself. 

The best gift you can give to your family and friends in the event of emergency, accident or death is to be prepared.  Ensure your wishes are granted by legally documenting them.  We can draft your simple will, power of attorney or medical directive individually, or bundle them in our comprehensive Estate Planning Package. Contact me today at (757) 320-2010 to get started! 

Edrie Pfeiffer
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Edrie Pfeiffer, Bankruptcy & Divorce Attorney