As Michigan and other states are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, we at Galloway and Collens are working remotely with the ability to create, update, or finalize your Estate Plan.
You don’t need to have extensive assets and multiple properties to be a candidate for estate planning. Even young and healthy people with simple estates should have at least a will, durable power of attorney, and patient advocate designation/living will in place.
Don’t wait until something happens to set up your estate plan. This proactive measure will save you and your loved ones unnecessary stress if the unthinkable happens.
Importance of your basic estate planning documents:
As we all know, tomorrow is never promised. These documents will protect your assets and give you a greater peace of mind that your family and other loved ones are protected.
Last Will & Testament –
This is one of the most important documents you can have in place for not only you but also your family. Even if you have a small estate, having a legally binding document expressing your direct wishes for the assets you have will save your family and loved ones from experiencing added worry. If you have minor children, you can have your will state who should take care of them – rather than having a court decide. Having a will also speeds up the probate process, minimizes estate taxes, and avoids other legal challenges.
Revocable Trusts –
A revocable trust is similar to a last will and testament but can offer more protection from taxes and prying eyes. You are still in control of your assets while you’re alive and able. With the right language, you can control assets upon your incapacity and after your death. For example, you can choose to keep assets within the family or keep them in trust so that a child must become more financially responsible prior to receiving them. A trust can also avoid probate so that your financial matters are not a matter of public record as they would be with a will. Even if you are single and/or have no children, a trust is as important if not more so. With a trust, you will be able to provide for yourself in the event that you’re unable to make decisions. The right trust with the right language can offer many opportunities for you and your family.
What happens if you are in hospitalized and are unable to make important decisions? Who pays your bills? Who decides what medical procedures are done? This is where the most basic documents come in to play.
Durable Power of Attorney –
The agent of your choice (spouse, partner, child, friend) is able to handle your finances and pay your bills. Your attorney will be able to go over with you what exactly this document allows someone to do. You can even have it set up so that it is in effect as soon as you sign it or only once you become incapacitated.
Patient Advocate Designation –
Your patient advocate will have the power to make important medical decisions on your behalf. A Patient Advocate Designation, not to be confused with a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) Order, specifies your unique wishes as to what you would want to happen should you be on life support or in a state where everything that can be done has been done.
At Galloway and Collens, we can help you establish or update your Estate Plan. In this time of social distancing and staying at home, we can still work for you and meet with you by phone and video conferencing while you are safe at home. We can prepare your plan and, under the Governor’s executive order allowing remote witnessing and remote notarization, sign your Last Will and Testament, Revocable Trust, Patient Advocate Designation and Durable Power of Attorney by way of a remote signing.
We can give you peace of mind in these trying times.