A common estate planning myth is that estate planning is only for older individuals – but that simply isn’t true. Estate planning is for everyone, including the young and healthy.
Let’s discuss some scenarios that can affect anyone, regardless of their age, and the common questions that arise during these times.
1. “Who will make decisions about my medical care if I’m unable to?”
Many people think that end of life decisions are all that is covered during the estate planning process, but comprehensive estate planning also includes drafting a Living Will. This will specify your preferences for medical care, including who will make decisions on your behalf if you become seriously ill or incapacitated as well as the level of medical intervention you would or wouldn’t want. This not only protects your wishes, it also protects your loved ones from having to make challenging decisions during difficult times.
2. “Who will take care of my children (or pets) if I passed away unexpectedly?”
This is something none of us want to think about. However, choosing who will look after our children if we die can be one of the most important decisions we can ever make as parents. Help ensure they will be in good hands, and don’t leave it up to the courts to decide, by naming a family member or another loved one as legal guardian during your estate planning. The same is true for pet owners who want to ensure their four-legged family members are well-cared for after they pass away.
3. “Will my spouse be able to access immediate funds to pay our bills if I suddenly pass away?”
You may think that your existing Will has you covered for passing on your assets to loved ones, but did you know that they might still end up in probate court? With only a Will, probate court will need to confirm the validity of the Will and settle any potential objections from heirs before assets can be distributed. Probate proceedings may take time, during which your spouse or other loved ones may not have access to any finances. An estate plan can help ensure they have immediate access to the funds they need to pay the mortgage, bills and other expenses.
These are just a few common situations that show the importance of estate planning – while you’re healthy and able to make your own decisions.
Ready to talk more about all the ways that estate planning can benefit you and your loved ones? Give us a call – our experienced attorneys at Mattingly Ford Law specialize in estate planning and want to understand your needs.