Estate Planning is like an insurance policy for yourself now and an investment in your family for later. It is also a way for you to have a voice when you need one the most.
The moment you turned eighteen, your parents no longer had a say – legally speaking – and you were given a voice. But if you are like me, no one told me how to use that legal voice or how to preserve it. Estate Planning is the answer.
Unfortunately, to many of us below that age of seventy, Estate Planning documents are merely something your parents have locked away in a safety deposit box – there for when they go gently into that good night later down the road. This is the most tragic misconception of what Estate Planning does for any individual.
A complete Estate Plan includes several documents:
- Advance Health Care Directive
- HIPAA Disclosure Authorization
- Durable Power of Attorney for Asset Management
- Pour-Over Will
- Revocable Trust
The Advance Health Care Directive and HIPAA Disclosure Authorization give you the ability to provide instructions as to what kind of medical intervention – if any – or to the extent you want medical professionals to treat you should you become incapacitated due to an illness or injury. In this document you will designate a person (or persons) as your agent(s) to ensure that your wishes are understood and followed should you ever be unable to advocate for yourself during a medical emergency.
The Durable Power of Attorney for Asset Management allows your designated person or persons as your agent to manage your assets such as paying your bills, file and pay taxes, and other financial activities when you are unable to do so yourself.
A Pour-Over Will and Revocable Trust give you a voice after your death and allow you to give your assets (any money, stocks, collectors baseball cards, cars, houses, jewelry, etc.) to the person(s) of your choosing. It also provides tax benefits and it prevents your loved ones from having to probate your estate which is what would occur if you died intestate meaning without a will or trust. Probate would only result in an unnecessary waste of money and time when your family should only have to focus on grieving their loss.
We’re young – so we have the ‘we are invincible mentality,’ but COVID-19 has reminded us that we are human. And as humans, it is our job to take care of ourselves and our families. Through your Estate Plan, you will protect your assets, family, and your voice for whatever the future may have in store for you.
If you would for us to assist you in drafting your estate planning documents, please call the Law Offices of Steven F. Schroeder at (714) 480-0529 to set up a consultation. We are here for you every step of the way!
Written By: Brianna Giliberto-Hermann, J.D. at the Law Offices of Steven F. Schroeder