How an Estate Plan will prepare you and your family for the future
As summer is quickly coming to an end, families are busy preparing for the start of the new school year and settling into their new routines. Although your estate plan may be the last thing on your mind, the beginning of a new school year is actually a great time to start thinking about planning ahead for you and your family’s future, especially in this time of uncertainty in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Estate planning during this busy time of the year does not have to be complicated. Meeting with an experienced estate planning attorney will show you how easy it can be to plan ahead for your family, and will give you peace of mind once your estate plan is all set. After all, having an estate plan in place will help ensure that your kids receive the support they need in the future.
Accordingly, below are a few estate planning strategies you might want to consider.
The Importance of Estate Planning:
A proper estate plan will provide for the orderly distribution of your assets after death, as well as the possibility of illness or incapacity during life.
Specifically, in the event of your incapacity during your lifetime, without the proper estate planning documents in place, your loved ones will need to access the Probate Court system in order to make decisions on your behalf. Those decisions are typically for the management and control of your finances, to consent to and monitor your medical treatment, to make decisions pertaining to the essential requirements for your physical health and safety, and/or to make end-of-life decisions and preparations. As accessing the Probate Court system may be costly and timely, it is important that you have a proper estate plan in place so your loved ones will not need to access the Probate Court system to make decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacity.
Whatever stage of life you are in, proper estate planning today gives you and your loved ones a legacy of loving memories, shared values, wise choices and diligent distribution of assets.
Accordingly, during this time of uncertainty, it is important to ensure that you have a proper estate plan in place.
a. Ensuring your Estate Planning documents are up to date:
For people who have an estate plan, now more than ever, it is important to ensure that your estate planning documents are up to date. As part of this process, you should review your current estate planning documents to ensure that these documents reflect your current wishes.
Of particular importance, it is critical that you have up to date Powers of Attorney for your financial matters and medical decisions, especially if you are part of the high risk demographic that is most vulnerable to the adverse outcomes associated with having COVID-19. In addition, it is important that you review your Last Will and Testament to see whether you named someone to care for your minor children if you are incapacitated or pass away.
b. Creating an Estate Plan during the COVID-19 pandemic:
If you do not have an estate plan, now is the time to schedule a meeting with your estate planning attorney so they may assist you in putting these documents in place. Estate planning documents to consider include:
Wills: Wills express your wishes regarding the disposition or transfer of assets after you die. You can also name a guardian to care for your minor children if both parents pass away;
Trusts: Trusts are a detailed set of instructions expressing your wishes for management of assets during your lifetime and transfer of those assets at your passing. When established and fully funded, a trust may allow for the distribution of an estate without having to go through the probate process;
Special Needs Trusts: Special Needs Trusts provide for the financial support for a disabled child or spouse without losing his or her eligibility for governmental benefits such as Medicaid;
Powers of Attorney: Powers of Attorney allow you to designate a person to make financial or medical decisions on your behalf, in the event of your incapacity; and
Advance Health Care Directives: Advance Health Care Directives, also known as living wills, allow you to express your wishes regarding end-of-life decisions and life-sustaining treatments or procedures.
Regardless of your personal situation, our office is able to assist you and your family with your estate planning needs during this challenging time.
Measures our office has implemented to ensure the health and safety of our clients and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic:
As estate planning attorneys, our practice is dedicated to serving our community and our most vulnerable citizens, including seniors, those who are ill, disabled, experiencing health challenges and children with special needs. As we continue to practice social distancing, our firm is committed to ensuring everyone’s safety and making it easy and accessible for our community to get their estate planning questions answered and documents in place.
While the COVID-19 guidelines make gathering together for consultations, reviewing and signing your estate planning documents more challenging, we have adapted our procedures to ensure our clients can get the estate planning documents they need.
a. Virtual Meetings:
Specifically, our firm is offering flexible options to meet with you and/or your family virtually through teleconference calls or video conference calls to discuss in detail your estate planning options.
Our office is also able to prepare your estate planning documents or revisions to your existing estate planning documents and sending the draft documents electronically or through the United States mail with a detailed explanatory letter outlining the provisions of those documents.
b. Executing your Estate Plan:
Our office has adapted our signing procedures to ensure that our clients are able to have their estate planning documents executed promptly. We now also have the ability to sign documents in the large cafeteria area in our Providence office building which has been closed to diners. Again, all safety procedures are utilized.
All explanations of the documents, including answering all of your questions, will have been done remotely so the actual signing of the documents should be very quick.
Furthermore, out of an abundance of caution, we highly urge you to reschedule your meeting to sign your estate planning documents if you are experiencing even the slightest COVID-19 symptoms.
Contact Mignanelli & Associates, LTD.:
As estate planning attorneys, our practice is dedicated to serving our clients professionally and in today’s environment, safely. As we continue to use all safety precautions, our firm is committed to ensuring everyone’s safety and making it easy and accessible for our clients to have all of their estate planning questions answered and documents in place.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys, please feel free to contact our office by telephone at 401-340-3605 or email our attorneys:
Attorney Anthony R. Mignanelli at [email protected]
Attorney Jenna L. Bessette at [email protected]