February 14th every year is a day set aside for telling that special someone that you love them. The holiday has Roman origins which celebrated the coming of spring and included fertility rites and the pairing off of women with men by lottery. Today, the holiday is filled with flowers, stuffed bears and chocolate candies to signify 'love'. But does a stuffed teddy really signify 'love'?
As the parent to two young adults who are out and about in the world, telling them I love them everyday just isnt enough. Providing a safety net from them, as I always have done means so much more.
Estate and Incapacity planning, when done well, with intention and forethought, is probably the best 'love letter' you could ever write for those you love.
And like most love letters, estate planning can be difficult because you need to actively think about and plan for the unthinkable - your incapacity, eventual death and the impact it will have on those you leave behind. Unfortunately, having just a simple will to direct assets after you are gone is not enough (in fact, having just a "simple "will will most likely result in requiring your family to hire lawyers to probate your estate - instead of privately distributing your assets in a way that will most benefit your heirs. You should also have worked through a complete suite of incapacity documents - the financial and healthcare powers of attorney, Living Will and Digital Asset authorizations will give your nominated agents the rights to access your assets so that you will be supported during your incapacity. Finally, if you have heirs who have special needs or are under the age of 18, or if you want your assets to be distributed to charities after your children receive their benefits, working with an estate planning attorney to set up a trust is a necessary part of your love letter.
If you have already drafted your estate planning documents, GREAT! Please make sure your review everything at least every two to three years. If you know someone - especially a family member who might name you has a potential agent, or someone you need to be an agent for (think parents, children) then it is VITAL for you to get them to do their documents today so you will have immediate authority.
Call me today at Treveri Law, PC at 505-835-6580 to set up a complementary 20 minute telephonic strategy session to discuss how best to draft your love letter to those you love!