Legally Speaking: Having Your Affairs In Order In Uncertain Times
These are difficult times as a global pandemic consumes our attention and forces upon us dramatic change and uncertainty. Our careers, education, businesses, investments, worship, healthcare, and how we interact with others have all changed.
But maybe there’s a silver lining… Maybe we have reflected on what is truly important and re-aligned priorities. We see acts of kindness in our community towards those needing support.
Upheaval Prompts Reflection
“Am I Prepared?”
“Are My Affairs in Order?”
What is “Have My Affairs In Order”?
It is about Preparation! There is great relief in being ready for an emergency. Once basic physical needs are met, we should ensure our basic legal needs are also met by having a sound Estate Plan.
Estate Planning = Emergency Planning!
Your Estate Plan papers are typically pulled out in a crisis; death, disability, accident, or terminal illness. When a crisis occurs, your Estate Plan better produce results and not create more chaos for loved ones. A sound Estate Plan makes crisis manageable and is a profound gift to your family.
A Sound Estate Plan will Ensure..
1. Your assets work for you during your life, especially in case of incapacity;
2. You give what you have to whom you want, when you want, and how you want according to your values & priorities (if you don’t spend it all);
3. The lowest financial and emotional cost is paid by loved ones.
Not Just “Death Planning”, it’s “Life Care” Planning
Disability, Incapacity, Catastrophic Illness or Injury, and orphaned children; These should be addressed in your Estate Plan. Your Plan should also establish desires regarding artificial life-support, cremation, burial, organ donation, memorial services, and similar matters important to you.
Failing to establish or update your Estate Plan leads to slow and expensive court proceedings. Guardianships, Conservatorships, and Probates place burdens of time and money on loved ones. Your window for planning starts NOW, and ENDS when you suffer…
• Permanent mental disability
• Illness or Accident causing a coma or “vegetative state”
Can you predict when these will occur? If not, NOW is the time to act!
Attorney vs. Non-Attorney Estate Planners
I recommend you avoid non-attorney Estate Planners for several reasons:
• Credentials & Accountability. Attorneys study for years, pass hard tests, are regulated by the AZ Supreme Court, and take classes every year so the complexity of ever-changing laws are reflected in the advice and service provided.
• Get Results and Legal Advice. You pay attorneys for Results and Legal Advice, not just nice-looking documents. Your Family must get Results in a crisis when they present an Estate Planning document to a hospital or bank. Non-attorney practitioners cannot give legal advice (or break the law when they do) and are not held to a comparable professional standard (if any).
• Attorney-Client Confidentiality & Privilege. Attorneys will refuse to disclose information about you or your discussions due to strict ethical guidelines, even if asked under oath! Non-attorneys, if subpoenaed or put under oath, will be compelled to disclose your private info.
• Leave it to the Professionals. Your Will or Trust are perhaps the most solemn personal documents you will ever sign because they literally determine your legacy. Some things should be left to a Professional. Would you, for example, perform your own appendectomy?
Act Now to Create or Update your Estate Plan!
Experience Peace of Mind in having your Affairs In Order!
Leave a Legacy! Not a Burden!
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