Have you been putting off making an estate plan because you just don’t want to think about the possibility of your own death or disability? This is a common reason people give for avoiding this important task, and we understand the feeling.
You may think the future is out of your control anyway, so why worry about it now? However, when you sit down with our estate planning team, you will discover that there are steps you can take now that will give you control over what happens to you, your family, and your assets when you are unable to make those decisions yourself.
Don’t wait for a traumatic event to push you into constructing a plan. Contact the Estate & Probate Division of SVHC Law to get a straightforward but thorough analysis of your planning needs and to implement the best strategies for accomplishing your goals.
Planning for Your Own Disability or Incapacity
Who will make important decisions on your behalf if a disability leaves you unable to do so? Without certain documents in place, expensive court proceedings may be necessary before any decisions can be made. Our preplanning services provide options for documents that will permit others to have legal authority on your behalf in the event of your incapacity. This is not a pleasant possibility to confront, but you will make your own and your family’s lives much easier if you do.
Important documents include:
- Medical power of attorney. This document gives the person you name the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. For example, if you are unconscious and need life-saving medical treatment, your medical power of attorney can consent for you. Without this document, a family member may have to go through the costly and time-consuming process of asking a judge to appoint someone.
- Financial power of attorney. Who will pay your family’s living expenses if you are incapacitated following an illness or accident? With this document, you can legally designate someone to access your financial accounts so bills can be paid. If you don’t have a financial power of attorney, a court proceeding would be necessary to appoint a legal representative.
- Living will. Also called an advanced directive, this document spells out what measures you want to be taken to save your life if you are unable to communicate your wishes. Having this document will spare your loved ones from tough, end-of-life medical decisions.
- Revocable living trust. This type of trust allows for the management of your assets in case of your incapacity and also allows for the immediate transfer of assets to your designated heirs upon your death. Other trusts may also be available to protect your assets and your family in this situation.
Planning for the Distribution of Your Assets After Your Death
The second aspect of planning for the future is documenting what you want to happen to your estate after you are gone. Upon your passing, your estate will go through the succession process, but with proper estate planning, this can be a quick and easy process for your family.
Options we will discuss as we craft your plan include the following:
- Planning for the orderly transition of assets to your heirs
- Providing structure for inheritance received by younger heirs to allow someone to manage things for them until they get older
- Creating special needs trusts for children and dependent adults who may need assistance managing assets
- Avoiding family fights and conflicts by establishing a plan that provides for the orderly handling of your estate after you pass away
- Preparing guardianship elections to name a caregiver for your children if something were to happen to you
Understanding the SVHC Law Estate Planning Process
Our experienced estate planning attorneys are sensitive to your concerns about the future. In our initial planning conference, we will discuss your situation and present various options for achieving them. Once a plan is crafted, we will start the drafting process.
The estate plans we draft are unique to each client. Even though we help hundreds of families with estate plans every year and have seen every possible situation, we do not use cookie-cutter forms and generic templates. We construct your estate planning documents clause by clause to tailor it to your exact needs. Contact us in our New Orleans office today to take that first step towards the peace of mind you deserve as you think about the future.