There are any number of reasons why people put off their estate planning. We’ve heard it time and again: I do not need a will. I am young, I am healthy. I cannot afford it right now. I do not have that many assets. My family knows what I want. I trust my new spouse to take care of my children. I trust my kids to split things up equally. While we have heard many reasons for people procrastinating on their estate planning, we have also seen the brutal reality of what happens when someone dies and their wishes are not carried out as they had hoped. With the current state of affairs, stay-at-home orders, and harsh reality of COVID-19 hanging over everyone regardless of age, now is the time to start or refresh an estate plan.
Why Start (Or Refresh) an Estate Plan?
If you already have an estate plan in place, now is a good time to review it and make sure it still matches your wishes. You may have more time on your hands than you did at the beginning of the year, thanks to stay-at-home orders and quarantine. Plus, many law firms, including PBWS, are seeing clients virtually now, which gives you even more impetus to meet with an attorney to discuss updating your estate plan or getting started on your estate plan.
Estate plans cover more than what happens to your assets after you die. They also cover your wishes with regard to how you want to be treated if you are incapacitated in the hospital. Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders, organ donation wishes, and who has the authority to make decisions on your behalf as your Healthcare Power of Attorney are all part of an estate plan. Your plan can also include how you want your body to be handled after you die, or whether or not you want to donate some of your finances to a charity. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how healthy you are; having an estate plan in place can help solve these problems for your loved ones so they don’t have to wonder about what to do when the time comes or take it upon themselves to make the decisions they feel are right.
What to Expect When Starting Your Estate Plan
It may sound daunting, but an estate plan does not have to be complicated or difficult. You should first find a law firm or attorney that specializes in estate planning, such as PBWS. The right attorney will guide you through the process and create documents which distribute your assets, your healthcare wishes, and your family matters, such as a guardian for your minor children. You definitely should find a licensed attorney to help guide you through the process, as there are nuances and legal implications you may miss if you create your own documents.
When meeting with your attorney, you will go over several important tools, including:
- Healthcare directives or “living wills”
- Financial Powers of Attorney
- Healthcare Powers of Attorney
- Beneficiary designations
At PBWS, we are experienced at creating personalized, tailored estate plans, specific to the state of New Mexico. We take the time to listen to our clients and understand their unique situations and what their specific wishes are to create the right estate planning documents for them. If you are ready to start or review your estate plan, contact an estate planning attorney or get in touch with us today.