November 11, 2020 by Robin Wood
Each of us will face a challenge or tragedy at some point in our lives. Sometimes we see them coming, most times we are caught totally off guard. The challenges of 2020 have caught the whole world by surprise.
While everyone catches a cold or the flu from time to time, no one could have predicted the deadly COVID-19 virus would appear like it did, seemingly out of nowhere. More than 9 million Americans have tested positive for the disease, and it has killed more than 230,000 of our friends, family and neighbors since March.
230,000 Americans dead within mere weeks of contracting the virus. This is an epic tragedy for all of us but none more than the families and friends of those who have died. Sobering.
Keep in mind, however, that it doesn’t take a pandemic to wreak havoc in our lives. The Centers for Disease Control tell us that 795,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year. Another 805,000 Americans experience a heart attack every year. Automobile accidents claim approximately 39,000 American lives annually, and disable many more.
We don’t have control over when or how tragedy and death will come our way. But we are all mortal and while we may escape tragedy, death is going to catch up to us eventually. That said, there is something we can do to take the worry out of these unknowns.
You can give yourself the peace of mind that an estate plan provides. If you do your estate planning now, while you are alive and well, if tragedy strikes, you’ll be prepared. And if you’ve prepared, your loved ones will have a much easier time taking care of you and your affairs.
Take some time to learn what these estate planning tools can do for you:
A Property Power of Attorney in which you appoint someone, your “Agent,” to handle your property if you are unable to do so yourself.
A Healthcare Power of Attorney in which you appoint an Agent to make medical decisions for you, if you are unable to make those decisions for yourself.
A HIPAA power which gives people whom you designate, such as your Agent, access to your protected health information.
A Revocable Trust to allow management of assets during life and at death. Such a trust allows the avoidance of the delays and expense of probate, which vary from state to state. Through this trust and the PourOver Will discussed below, you can spell out how you want your assets distributed to your beneficiaries to help them the most.
A PourOver Will which sends any remaining assets to the Revocable Trust at your death and nominates guardians for any minor children you may have.
Once you have an estate plan in place, you’ll be ready for whatever life has in store for you!