Get Your Estate Planning in Order
With stay-at-home orders, dire predictions and story after story covering the unsettling present, this is an undeniably stressful time—one that can easily send thoughts off on a “what if” trajectory of worst case scenarios. But it’s also a time to reassess what’s most important to us. To simplify what we can and protect those we most care about. To that end, many people are thinking about estate planning more seriously than they ever have before.
Of course, estate planning is always important, with or without a pandemic in the picture. That’s because estate planning doesn’t just address your financial assets. It also covers guardianship for minor or incapacitated children, planning for the possibility that you may become incapacitation, and making potential end-of-life care decisions.
Here are some planning documents you’ll want to consider including in your estate planning:
- Financial Power of Attorney: This document appoints a financial agent – someone who can handle your finances on your behalf. The document also allows you to pick and choose specific powers to grant to your agent. If you’re hospitalized and in serious condition, your financial power of attorney could allow your agent to pay your bills, address retirement benefits, file taxes, and address other financial needs.
- Advance Directive for Healthcare: This document combines the “power of attorney” and “living will” decisions. In the Advance Directive, you appoint a healthcare agent – someone to make medical decisions on your behalf, if you’re unable to do so. You may also share your wishes regarding life-sustaining interventions, taking the burden off your family members.
- Last Will and Testament: This will detail how you want any assets held in your name to be distributed after your passing. You will also name an executor. If you have minor children, you’ll nominate a guardian for them if you pass away along with their other parent.
- Revocable Trust: While a trust is not necessary for everyone, some clients will want to establish one. Trusts can be particularly important for clients with minor or special needs children, those who own out-of-state property, and those considering long-term care planning.
Wills must be witnessed and notarized to be valid. This April, in light of the COVID-19 crisis, Georgia’s governor issued an executive order allowing remote witnessing and notarization of documents. The executive order, only in effect during this crisis, provides safeguards to be sure document signings are witnessed and notarized properly.
After creating your estate plan, it’s a good idea to make your wishes known to family members and keep your documents in a safe location. You’ll also want to list your financial accounts and online passwords (in a safe place), as well as any wishes you have regarding social media accounts, email accounts or personal correspondence.
Considering worst case and end of life scenarios is tough, but we try to make it as painless as possible. Creating a trust or last will and testament is a gift to give your family, and we’re ready to help you get started.
Speak With an Atlanta Estate Planning Lawyer
Planning is more important than ever right now. At Nadler Biernath, we’re happy to be able to support families as they navigate this ongoing crisis. We have experience handling all aspects of estate planning, special needs law and elder law. Call us today at 770-999-9799 to schedule your initial consultation (conducted virtually) to discuss how we can help your loved ones. Stay safe and healthy!