Planning Your Estate in Unplanned Times

It may seem morbid to say so, but while this COVID-19 pandemic lingers on, and the daily news inundates us with the latest casualty figures, more and more people, especially seniors, are thinking about their estates. Although access to many places is limited at this time, the Law Office of Scott C. Painter, P.C., is ready to help with your plans, via phone, video, and in person. We are here to help you prepare for the worst.

When disaster strikes, you can have peace of mind knowing your essential affairs are in order and your estate plan is solid. Here are several important items to consider when finalizing your plans.

Sometimes called a patient advocate designation or health care proxy, an advanced health care directive names someone to make healthcare decisions for you if you ever cannot do so yourself. It can also describe your preferences for your end-of-life care.

If you become unable to manage your finances due to illness, quarantine, hospitalization, or other circumstance, you will need a P.O.A., or Power of Attorney, a document that gives legal authority to a trusted person who will handle your property and financial affairs on your behalf while you are living.

Of course, there is a last will and testament, expressing your wishes for your assets after you are gone. Make sure it contains at least the following: 1) an executor to handle your requests; 2) a guardian to care for your children; 3) a plan for distributing your assets, including charitable gifts. Don’t forget to let the executor and others know where they can access this important document.

You may have money invested in retirement accounts, bank and investment accounts, and life and disability insurance policies. Examine your financial investments to make sure remaining assets will be distributed as you wish. There are tax and other considerations that may come into play when making these decisions, so seek reliable counsel with these and all such matters.

If you have online accounts, such as email, social media, shopping, research, apps, etc., see if they allow you to designate someone to access your account on your behalf when you cannot. Share your usernames and passwords with a trusted individual. Address this issue in your Power of Attorney document.

Whether you have children or not, you may still have dependents that will need care if you become incapacitated or unavailable: your pets. Make arrangements for someone to care for them, and give them detailed care instructions, access to your house, and your veterinarian’s name.

If you have preferences for your funeral arrangements, make them known as well. Don’t put them in your will, which is usually read after the services.

Besides meeting with an experienced attorney, such as Scott Painter, meet with your family and other relevant parties to discuss your wishes, so there are no surprises. Crises are never planned, but you can be ready with the proper advice and actions.

If you need legal advice in managing an estate, trust, other elder law issue or veteran’s benefits, the Law Office of Scott C. Painter can help. We specialize in elder law issues ranging from nursing home planning, guardianship, wills, trusts, estates, veteran’s benefits, and other related legal matters. Attorney Scott Painter is CELA® certified under the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF).

A call to us is free, and the best advice is to act now to educate yourself about your options. Waiting to seek legal counsel may limit your options and be costly. Call now for your free consultation at 610-378-5140 or visit painterelderlawpc.com/ for more information.

Your Thoughts