When meeting with estate planning clients, I often start by asking a simple question: "What matters most to you?" Without fail, the answer I get most often is "My family and my loved ones." This simple question and answer goes right to the heart of what we do as estate planning lawyers. We help people plan and prepare to assist their family and loved ones in the event of illness, incapacity, or death.
Having a Power of Attorney for Healthcare and a Declaration of Living Will--both to include HIPAA authorization--allows for decision making when faced with serious illness, injury or incapacity. A Durable Power of Attorney provides for assistance in dealing with financial matters. A Will and a Trust make sure things go smoothly in the event of death. If there are minor children involved, having a guardian designated through the Will is about as important as it gets!
There's nothing quite as challenging--not to mention upsetting--as when a family comes to us after a crisis has arisen and where no protection is in place. While we are sometimes able to help them, that help is often slower than it should be, costs far more, and in some events isn't as effective as it could have been if done ahead of time.
So as 2019 approaches, we encourage you to take stock of your estate plan and get it in place so that you can protect what matters most.