When do we use a parachute? When we need it, of course! And the time to think about putting on the parachute is not when you get halfway to the ground. You need to put it on before you leave the ground, anticipating the moment when your feet leave the plane and you’re hurtling toward earth. As weird as it sounds, estate planning is like putting on a parachute – you don’t use it until you need it, but by then it may be too late.
Why do I need an estate plan?
Why don’t you need one? Hopefully, your Will won’t be read and admitted to probate for a really long time, but there’s no guarantee. If you pass away without a Will, your heirs have to go to court to settle your estate. It’s not fun, it can be time-consuming, and it can be costly.
And estate plans consist of other important documents. Like a power of attorney, where you authorize someone to act on your behalf. Or a Health Care Power of Attorney that authorizes your personal representative to make medical decisions for you. Trusts and asset protection can safeguard your assets and your family members.
You need an estate plan to protect you and your family members on this fantastic journey we call life.
A parachute is put on before you need it.
If you suddenly become incapacitated, it’s too late to sign a Health Care Power of Attorney. It seems odd, but the time to think about being incapacitated is while you are still in good health.
Estate plans provide a blueprint, a course of action to take if your family needs to take over.
We activate a parachute when it’s needed.
A power of attorney might become effective the minute you sign it, only for a certain time period, or only after the signer becomes incapacitated. It depends on why you are signing the power of attorney.
For example, a Health Care Power of Attorney becomes effective if you become incapacitated and unable to make your own medical decisions. At that point, it’s too late to sign a power of attorney and your family may have to go to court to have someone appointed to represent you.
Asset protection must be done before any claims are imminent. Otherwise, you risk losing the assets or being accused of fraudulent actions.
The parachute protects the user.
A good estate plan cannot prevent incapacity or death, but it can certainly protect your interests before and after death. You can’t see the effect your Will has, obviously, but you can have peace of mind right now knowing that you’ve provided for your family. An agent authorized by a power of attorney can protect your financial interests and help medical providers give you the treatments you want. And, of course, asset protection safeguards your assets so more of property you worked hard to accumulate goes to your family.
The parachute protects our loved ones, too.
Executing a properly-written Will provides important guidance to your family at an already stressful time. Other estate planning documents that authorize agents to act on your behalf spare your family the frustration of having a judge decide the best course of action for you. Spendthrift clauses in wills and trusts can even protect your heirs from themselves. But none of this protection happens if you haven’t taken that first step to develop an estate plan.
So, jump in with both feet.
At Dillon Law Group, PLC, the attorneys work with you to evaluate your needs and develop a comprehensive estate plan. Please contact us at 757-962-4796 to set up an appointment or use the Contact Form on our website, https://www.dillonlawgrp.com/. Our offices are located in Virginia Beach and Newport News.