We all face difficulties and tragedies in our lives. Some of these difficulties are foreseeable and some are unexpected. 2020 was a year full of many unexpected difficulties. While we all get sick from time to time, no one expected the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 9 million Americans have contracted the disease, resulting in the deaths of more than 230,000 Americans.
Aside from the coronavirus, there are many unexpected tragedies, such as 795,000 Americans having a stroke each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Another 805,000 Americans suffer a heart attack each year, according to the CDC. In addition, car accidents claim about 39,000 lives in the United States annually and injure many more.
Moreover, there are many lesser known ways to face tragedy or death. An example is the amoeba that can eat the brain. Although rare, amoebas can come from soil or water and can be fatal. Here is a link to find out more.
Few of us know exactly when and how we will face tragedy or death. But we know that we are all human and therefore we know that we will face death in the end.
We may not be able to protect ourselves from everything, but we can prepare now for anything that might happen. Do your estate planning now. That way, when tragedy strikes, you’ll be prepared. If you are prepared, it will be much easier for your loved ones.
To prepare, consider:
- A property power of attorney whereby you designate someone, your “agent” to handle your property if you are unable to do so on your own.
- A general health care power of attorney in which you appoint an agent to make medical decisions for you, if you are unable to make these decisions on your own.
- A HIPAA authority that gives people you designate, such as your agent, access to your protected health information.
- A revocable credit to allow management of assets during life and upon death. Such trust allows to avoid delays and probate expenses, which vary from state to state. With this trust and PourOver Will discussed below, you can clarify how you want to distribute your assets to your beneficiaries to help them most.
- A PourOver will that sends any remaining assets to the Trustable Trust upon your death and nominates guardians for any minor children.
Once you’ve got all your ducks in a row, you’ll be ready for whatever life has in store for you, even a year like 2020!
Stephen C. Hartnett, JD, LLM
American Academy of Estate Planning Lawyers, Inc.
9444 Balboa Street, Suite 300
San Diego, CA 92123
Phone: (858) 453-2128
Preparing for the Unexpected… and the End first appeared on lawyers for the American Academy of Estate Planning.