A Parent’s Love Is Displayed Through Their Actions
This week I hosted a woman’s club at my home. The club raises money to be used at the grade school for fine art extras. The women meet once a month, and donate their time and energy fundraising to give their children the best possible educational opportunities. When we were sitting around the dining room table, introducing ourselves and our occupations, I mentioned that I am an attorney and that I prepare estate plans. When I asked who had estate plans in place, none of the parents did. Each of them had children, and had the desire to go out of their way to make their child’s life better. It was why on a cold night, they were giving their time to a fundraising committee. But none of them took the time to put together their estate plans which would make it easier for their surviving spouse and children if there is an unforeseen death or disability in their family.
A basic estate plan consists of a trust, which names a trustee to act on behalf of a person who either dies or is incapacitated. It names heirs, and if the individual has minor children, guardians for their children. There is a power of attorney for health care which appoints an individual to make medical decisions for the person, including end of life directives if the individual is unable to make these decisions. There is also a power of attorney for property, which appoints a trusted person to be able to make decisions about property if the person is incapacitated. These documents when prepared save your children and spouse significant funds because they do not have to go to court and either petition for guardianship when you are alive but unable to manager your affairs, or if you die, your children do not have to open a probate estate. They can sell your home and distribute your assets without reporting to a judge.
A little planning now can save a lot of anguish for your spouse and children later.