Do you feel adequately prepared?

by | Jun 12, 2024

If you’ve arranged a trust or a will, you might feel your estate plan is all set. However, that’s not entirely accurate. Estate plans require thoroughness, encompassing more than just a will or a trust to specify how you wish your assets distributed. At Axis Law Group, our seasoned estate planning attorneys can craft a holistic strategy that navigates life’s uncertainties effectively.

Guardianship

Securing your minor child’s future is paramount. One of the most prudent steps you can take immediately is appointing a guardian for your child in the event of your premature passing.

Many clients assume two things when discussing guardianship with us. First, they believe informing their best friend or sibling verbally that they’ll be the guardian suffices. Regrettably, this is not the case. The court will act in the child’s best interest when appointing a guardian and might disregard your wishes if they’re not legally documented. Second, couples often presume their spouse will always be available to care for the children. However, spouses frequently travel together, and accidents can happen during vacations. Hence, it’s advisable to use your estate plan to anticipate worst-case scenarios, ensuring protection for all parties involved.

Powers of Attorney

A will or a trust mainly determines the distribution of your assets after your passing. But what if you become incapacitated due to a coma, stroke, or dementia diagnosis? In such instances, your decision-making capacity may be questioned by the state of Missouri. This could lead to a court-mandated guardianship and conservatorship hearing, where someone appointed by the court makes your medical and financial decisions. To mitigate the risk of an unknown person being appointed or the high costs of court proceedings, Axis Law Group can provide powers of attorney, enabling you to powers of attorney during periods of incapacity.

Advanced Directive

One of the aims of estate planning is to spare loved ones from guessing your wishes and grappling with guilt over crucial decisions. A common area where guilt may arise is regarding life support. Do you want your family to speculate about how long you wish to remain on life support, or would you prefer to provide them peace of mind by deciding now? An advanced directive enables you to specify the duration you wish to remain on a breathing tube, feeding tube, and IV if you were in a persistent vegetative state. Without this document, the decision falls to your power of attorney, typically a spouse or immediate family member. Thus, an advanced directive is essential to any estate plan.

HIPAA Release Form

“I’m sorry, but we can’t disclose that information to you.” These are words you don’t want your loved ones to hear in times of crisis. By indicating who should receive medical information about your well-being, you can avoid such situations. Don’t assume you’ll be able to make this decision upon hospital admission, as many hospital forms are only valid for the day of your stay. Moreover, if you’re brought to the hospital due to an accident that renders you unresponsive, you won’t be able to complete the HIPAA release form. Therefore, it’s crucial to prepare a HIPAA release form in advance so your loved ones can stay informed about your well-being and assist in any necessary decisions.

Personal Property Memorandum

What should be done with family heirlooms, jewelry, firearms, vehicles, artwork, furniture, or musical instruments? This is a common concern that may be overlooked in your estate planning documents. However, the solution is simple. At Axis Law Group, we offer our clients a personal property memorandum. This memorandum allows you to itemize personal property and designate recipients for each item. Additionally, it offers flexibility as you can modify the list of items or recipients at any time without needing to consult an attorney to update your estate plan.

Instructions for Final Arrangements

Upon your demise, you don’t want your family to be burdened with logistical decisions instead of mourning. To ensure your wishes are honored and your family knows what you desire, we provide clients with instructions for final arrangements. This packet allows you to specify whether you prefer burial or cremation, a funeral or memorial service, flowers or no flowers, and other details. Such guidance alleviates stress for your friends and family and provides much-needed clarity.

Your estate plan must be comprehensive. Don’t rely solely on a single document to provide security for you and your loved ones. Make the prudent choice and book a free consultation today with an experienced estate planning attorney at Axis Law Group.