Don’t Let Preparation Scare You
It’s Halloween season, so let’s talk about something spooky! Not make-believe monsters under the bed, but really bad things that happen to people frequently.
Sudden accidents and unexpected deaths create hardships beyond the obvious. Unfortunately, a lack of planning frequently makes the situation even more difficult.
All adults need three basic documents at a minimum: a will, a financial power of attorney and a health care power of attorney. Without these documents, incapacity or death mean your loved ones get to spend much of their time dealing with lawyers and judges.
These documents express your wishes about things such as end-of-life treatment decisions and who should oversee handing out your stuff. Ensuring financial and health care powers of attorney means no one must go to court to get appointed to oversee your medical treatment or your stuff.
Anyone with children needs a will. This document accomplishes several very important functions.
First, it allows you to decide who should take care of your children in the event something happens to you and the child’s other parent (contrary to popular demand, you cannot appoint someone else as your child’s guardian if the other parent is still alive).
Second, with a will you can establish a trust to hold assets for the child until he or she is over 18 or beyond. If you die with minor children and without a will in Georgia or South Carolina, the child or children will inherit your property, and the court will have to appoint someone to be their guardian until they are 18. At 18, your children will get the property whether they are ready to handle it or not.
Trusts and wills and all this other stuff sounds scary. Just rich people need trusts, right? But the truth is that a good estate planning attorney can help you decipher all the lingo and make sure you have an understandable, practical plan that fits your needs and your family.