The need for having a proper estate plan in place has never been more true than the present environment today of both fear and preparedness. As you know, every California resident needs at least a durable power of attorney and advance health care directive. These are two simple documents that allow your chosen agent, a loved one or other individual, to make financial and medical decisions for you in the event you are alive but not well.
The durable power of attorney allows someone to act for you in financial matters. It can be made effective if you are incapacitated or effective immediately. For older adults, sometimes we recommend that your durable power of attorney be effective immediately. If you decide to make yours effective immediately, you need to make sure you have complete trust and faith in your agent or attorney in fact (this is the person you name to make these financial decisions for you) and that person you have named will not abuse the powers conferred in this important legal document.
The advance health care directive is equally important. It allows someone else to make medical decisions for you, ask about test results, make medical appointments and otherwise assist with all levels of personal medical care in case you are not able to make these decisions for yourself.
With this virus, we may find ourselves alive (and even well), but in a quarantined situation – having the proper durable power of attorney and advance health care directives in place will alleviate some of the stress of not being able to make financial and medical decisions for yourself. Especially if you have these documents effective immediately.
In addition to the above two documents, you will also want to have death documents in place as well. Generally, homeowners, parents and those with any wealth should have a revocable living trust in place along with a companion pour-over will. If you do not own a home, have children and consider yourself just starting out – a basic will may suffice and a trust may not be recommended.
If you have questions, please reach out to a member of our estate planning team and we can offer a complimentary consultation to discuss your estate planning needs during this time.