The pandemic has caused a lot of us to slow down. Instead of being on the go, headed to movie theaters and shopping malls, we’re forced to self-quarantine. That time can be used to get to your to-do list. At Tanko Law, we can help you with some of the legal items on that checklist, like finally getting to your will and estate planning.
While your end of days is not something you want to think about, particularly with a pandemic plaguing the nation, estate planning is critical to have in place. We’ll help you with your full checklist.
Update Your Will
When was the last time you made updates to your will? Whether you have children or grandchildren that you want included in the will or you have new assets that need to be taken into consideration, updates should be made. After all, you want all of your loved ones incorporated into your last will and testimony.
It’s important to update your will periodically so that it doesn’t end up in probate. All it takes is one person to argue distribution for it to be held up for years. There are ways to protect your assets and ensure that your loved ones are included in what happens to all assets. By following specific Montana laws, it’s possible to have full asset protection in place. With the help of one of our Montana attorneys, we can also provide you with the guidance that you need.
Establish Your Wishes
What exactly are your wishes? When you begin to plan for what happens upon your passing, you have to give this some thought. This involves not only establishing the “Who gets what” but also other aspects.
Consider some of the following:
- Do you want trust funds established for minors?
- Do you want restrictions in place for how assets will be used?
- Do you have specific plans for your funeral?
- What do you want done with ashes?
You should be able to get what you want. If you haven’t thought about what you want, start pondering it now while you practice social distancing. You cannot assume that telling a loved one what you want done will ensure that it gets done. People are stressed upon losing a loved one. The choices they make may be done out of stress or convenience as opposed to following your requests.
By making a few decisions and one phone call, it’s easier to secure your wishes.
The various wishes that you have are included in a letter of intent. This is a document that can be left with a beneficiary or the executor of the will. It ensures that your desires are known so that they can be followed after your death. While the document is not always legally binding, it does allow a probate judge to determine your intentions to ensure that assets are distributed as you requested in the event that the will is questioned or marked invalid.
You may want to review various charities to leave assets to. You can include as many charities as you desire, such as religious organizations, community centers, or national associations. If one is near and dear to your heart, you may want to specify an exact dollar amount or even a percentage of your overall assets. You can also choose to leave a specific item to a charity, such as a piano to your local church.
By reviewing the charities that are dear to you, it can ensure that you include them within your will.
Establish (or Update) a Healthcare Power of Attorney
It’s always a good idea to have a Healthcare Power of Attorney in the event that you become incapacitated. The HCPA would be able to make healthcare decisions on your part. It’s critical that you choose someone you not only trust but who shares similar views as you. After all, the person you choose may end up holding your life in their hands.
If you already have an HCPA in place, ensure that they are still capable of making the decision for you. If you have remarried since the last document was executed, you probably don’t want a former spouse to have that kind of power.
With the help of one of our Montana attorneys, you can have this document created or updated as a way to protect you in case you ever become unable to make your own healthcare decisions.
Draft a Full Estate Plan
A full estate plan can be drafted to ensure that all of your wishes are honored upon your passing. You can appoint someone as a guardian in the event that you are responsible for minor children. Further, you can ensure that your assets are handled in a manner that allows for the desired distribution.
Full estate plans can be as simple or as sophisticated as you need to be based on your individual situation. By having your life and your assets reviewed by an estate lawyer, it can make it easier to close loopholes and ensure that your last wishes are honored. More importantly, you can ensure that everything is spelled out clearly to avoid your will being contested by any loved ones.
We can help you to review existing documents and name backup agents for a healthcare power of attorney and guardians. This way, in the event that something happens to one between now and when a document needs to be used, it provides you with the coverage to ensure that all continues to happen as you planned.
Contactless legal assistance is available during the pandemic to ensure your questions are answered. We’re here to help you plan for the future so you know that everything will be handled the way that you wish. It’s not what you want to plan for but it’s something you need to plan for.
Contact us at Tanko Law today to learn more about how one of our attorneys can assist with drafting a will, updating your estate plan, and more.