To all front-line and “essential” workers: thank you for all of your hard work—day in and day out.
You tirelessly give of yourself to care for some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Whether you are caring for them in a hospital, therapy room, or patient’s home or maybe you are stocking grocery shelves to help keep our nation fed – you are providing us with a better, safer today and tomorrow.
But as much as you care for and provide for others – the question remains: how are you providing for your own care? It goes without saying that your work is putting you at higher risk of sickness, so it’s critical that you have a plan for what would happen if you were to fall ill. An experienced estate planning attorney can work with you to craft the best possible estate plan prescription that protects you today, tomorrow, and well into the future. Here are a few items to consider that will help you and your family care for you when you need it – well beyond this pandemic.
Revocable Living Trust
A revocable living trust is an excellent way to manage and protect your money and property. Contrary to what some may think, you don’t have to have lots of money and property to benefit from a trust. The two major players involved in a trust are the trustee and the beneficiary. During your lifetime, as long as you are able and choose to do so, you can act as the trustee and can control all money and property in the trust. However, when you are managing the money and property, you are now doing so as the trustee and not as the individual owner. In addition to serving as the initial trustee, you are also the beneficiary. This means that although you have transferred your money and property into the trust, you are still the one receiving the benefits of that money and property.
In the event you are unable to act (i.e., you become incapacitated) or pass away, the individual you have named as your successor trustee will step in and manage the money and property according to the instructions you have included in the written trust agreement. Even if you are still alive when the successor takes over, it will be the successor trustee’s responsibility to manage and use the money and property for your benefit. Then, upon your passing, the successor trustee is required to hold or distribute the money and property in the trust according to the instructions in the trust instrument. This transition of trusteeship between you and your successor trustee happens without court involvement, making it quick and private.
Financial Power of Attorney
A financial power of attorney allows the trusted person you choose to handle your financial matters on your behalf. The agent can handle a wide variety of transactions from signing checks to opening a bank account to filing your taxes, depending upon the authority you grant that individual in the power of attorney. This can be a helpful tool if you are incapacitated, bedridden, or just unavailable to engage in the necessary transaction. The beauty of this document is that you can customize it so that you will have the assistance you need, when you need it, based on your individual situation and wishes.
Durable Medical Power of Attorney and Advanced Directive
As many of you are probably well aware, a durable medical power of attorney allows you to name a trusted individual to communicate your medical wishes in the event you are unable to do so. It is important that you choose someone you trust because you will not be able to oversee your agent’s decisions. It is equally important that you convey your wishes to this individual clearly. This can be accomplished through the use of a living will or advanced directive.
Additionally, you can execute a HIPAA authorization in the event you would like other trusted individuals to have access to your medical information and to obtain a status update on your condition, but do not want them to have the ability to make decisions. In a stressful situation, the communication of reliable information straight from the healthcare provider can be a way to ease tensions and allow everyone to process what is going on with a level head.
We understand that you are busy and your time is valuable. To better assist our clients, we are available to meet by telephone or video conference. We also have a drive-up closing process which enables you to sign your documents quickly and easily. Your estate planning should not have to wait until you have a day off. Give Davis Law Group a call so we can get started caring for you right away.