Please, Please, PLEASE put in place the paperwork needed to empower your loved one to act when you can't. This means gathering the personal and financial information that this designated family member, friend or professional will need to take care of your affairs should anything happen to you. Do some estate planning.
It can be hard to appreciate the kind of frustration a family can go through when someone’s affairs are not in order. If you have been there, done that, or have seen it second hand, then you know what I mean. There are simply a lot of plans that need to be made, because there are a lot of things that can go wrong. For an impassioned voice on the matter and some advice you should heed, be sure to read a recent commentary published in The Washington Post titled “Put your estate plan on paper before it’s too late.”
The author recounts her own experience with her mother, who wasn’t even suffering from old age. Her mother was moved to critical condition after an accident. Unfortunately, the author was left on the other side of a legal wall caused by the lack of a financial durable power of attorney and healthcare directive that might have allowed her to come toher mother's aid. Worse still, the mother had actively put-off or refused committing her wishes to paper, and that’s why there was no legal recourse. If you or a loved one have not committed your financial durable power of attorney and healthcare directive wishes to paper, then here’s one more story to remind you why they are so important.
We plan because there are good reasons to do so. Without planning, your privacy could be at risk, healthcare decisions cannot be made, and your wealth may be managed by strangers. We plan because when the time comes there are more important things to think about, like the comfort of an ailing loved one or the bereavement process we need to observe when we've lost a loved one. The original article spells out the basics and brings the need to complete your own plan clearly into focus.
You can learn more about this topic as well as other strategies on our website under the tab entitled: estate planning in Virginia. Be sure you also sign up for our complimentary e-newsletter so that you may be informed of all the latest issues that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning.
Reference: The Washington Post (March 20, 2014) “Put your estate plan on paper before it’s too late”