by Michele Kelsaw, MK Legal Planning
Unfortunately, I could tell you several stories of young people who have passed away unprepared. Although we never expect this to happen and the pain is unbearable for the family and friends, there ways to ease the financial burden and stress in these situations if we just plan ahead.
Even if you are young, here are the top 4 things I want you to consider about making a plan now:
- Your Property Does NOT Automatically Pass to Your Family Outside of Court. Please understand that we want to review each and every piece of property that you own and make sure that it will pass to your loved ones without court or conflict. I encourage you to contact my office so that we are not leaving this up to chance. In my career and my personal life, I have seen too many times the costs of court and conflict. This applies to spouses as well. Do NOT assume that your spouse will automatically have access to bank accounts, financial accounts, cars, real estate, etc. if something happens to you.
- Save Your Loved Ones Money. If you do not have a plan, your loved ones will likely be forced to file a lawsuit to gain the power to make decisions related to your healthcare and/or your property. We estimate that this can cost them 5% of the value of the property that must be dealt with in the court process. This can be thousands of dollars WASTED. Not to mention, court is slow, and you are at the mercy of a judge who will ultimately decide what happens to the most important people in your life.
- Protect Your Children. Document your parenting decisions NOW. This ensures that your children are never taken into the care of strangers. It protects your kids from receiving a lump sum on their 18th birthday without any oversight on how to spend those funds, and it ensures that the people you have chosen have access to money to take care of your kids in the event something happens to you.
- Give Your Family the Power to Take Care of You Without Court Involvement. If you are in an accident and cannot make your own decisions, you must have the legal documents in place that allow your spouse or other loved ones to make decisions for you. Without the proper documents, your loved ones will be forced to file a lawsuit to gain control of your healthcare decisions and your property. This is true for married couples as well. Any jointly title assets such as real estate will be frozen. Your spouse does not automatically have the power to sign your name. He/she must have a court order to do so or the proper legal documentation signed by you BEFORE the accident. Do not put your loved ones in the position of having to wait on a judge.
TAKE ACTION TODAY! Reach out to me to educate yourself on the planning options available. Using tools like trusts, powers of attorney, and healthcare directives, we can make things easier on those you love.
This article is a production of MK Legal Planning. Michele Kelsaw, Attorney at Law, MBA, helps clients proactively plan to ensure their wishes are honored throughout life and beyond. We give our clients the confidence to know their loved ones will always be cared for in the way they want by the people they choose.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. This publication is for informational purposes. Nothing in this publication is legal, financial, or tax advice. This publication does not create an attorney-client relationship with the firm or its attorney. © 2020 MK Legal Planning.