By Andrew P. Deaver
The events of the past eight months have been unexpected and challenging. The world and our lives have changed in ways we would never have imagined when we rang in 2020. It may seem like nearly everyone has more fear and feels less in control than we did a year ago. But there is one area that you can control – your estate plan. And, as we come to the end of 2020, it’s an excellent time to take a look at what has changed and adjust your estate plan accordingly.
Some of us have lost businesses or jobs. The change in financial circumstances can require updates to an estate plan regarding specific devises in a Will or succession planning for a company.
Some of us have lost touch with family members or friends. Someone may have listed a sibling as the agent in her Financial Power of Attorney, but, due to quarantine, that relationship is not
as close as it once was. That person may need to update her Financial Power of Attorney to remove her brother and to include someone else who is better suited for the responsibility.
Some of us have lost loved ones. Perhaps an older parent who was to serve as a personal representative under a Will has passed away. Or a sibling, who was to be a guardian for a minor child, is no longer able. The survivor’s Will now needs to be updated because that person is no longer living.
Some of us are concerned about travel. If an agent or attorney-in-fact listed in a Financial or Health Care Power of Attorney lives out of state, it now may be more difficult for them to act on your behalf if necessary. These documents may need to be updated to list someone who lives closer to home.
But almost all of us have considered our health and our mortality.
We are reminded every day of the danger of being hospitalized, but have we taken steps to prepare for that potentiality?
A Health Care Power of Attorney can ensure a trusted family member or friend has the authority to make health care decisions on your behalf if you cannot. Similarly, a Living Will document can address the potential end-of-life scenario where you can no longer make your own health care decisions, are only still living due to artificial means (for example, due to a ventilator), and the doctor says you will never recover.
We are reminded every day that death may be around the corner, but have we taken the step to legally prepare for what that might mean for our family? You may have children who need to be cared and provided for, businesses that need to continue to run, assets that need to be transferred, and individuals chosen to see this all happens as it should. None of these things are straightforward and none of them are easy to think about, but one choice we have control of is to take action when and where we can to protect ourselves, our family, our businesses, and our other assets.
To speak with Andy or another of our Estate Planning attorneys, please call us at 402.392.1250 or visit us on the web at AKCLaw.com