Do you think you’re covered?

by | Jun 12, 2024

If you have a trust or a will, you may believe your estate plan is complete. However, this is not the case. Estate plans need to be comprehensive, including more than just a will or a trust to delineate how you want your property distributed. At Axis Law Group, our experienced estate planning attorneys can design a holistic plan that addresses much of life’s unpredictability.

Guardianship

Securing the future of your minor child is crucial. One of the wisest actions you can take immediately is designating a guardian for your child in case you pass away before they turn eighteen.

Many clients presume two things when discussing guardianship with us. First, clients believe verbally telling their best friend or sibling that they will be the guardian is sufficient. Unfortunately, this is not true. The court will act in the best interest of the child when appointing a guardian and may completely disregard your wishes if they are not placed within a legally binding document. Second, couples often assume their spouse will always be able to care for the children. However, spouses often travel together, and accidents may occur during vacations. Therefore, it is best to use your estate plan to anticipate worst-case scenarios, ensuring protection for everyone involved.

Powers of Attorney

A will or a trust primarily dictates where you want your assets to go upon your passing. But, what happens if you fall into a coma, become debilitated after a stroke, or are diagnosed with dementia? In these situations, your capacity to make decisions can be questioned by the state of Colorado. This could result in a court-mandated guardianship and conservatorship hearing, where a court-appointed person makes your medical and financial decisions. To avoid the risk of having someone you do not even know be appointed or incurring the high costs of court proceedings, Axis Law Group can provide you with powers of attorney. This allows you to designate who you want in charge during times of incapacity.

Advanced Directive

One of the goals of estate planning is to relieve loved ones of guessing your wishes and wrestling with guilt over crucial decisions. A common area where guilt can arise is life support. Do you want your family to guess how long you wish to remain on life support, or would you rather give them peace of mind by deciding now? An advanced directive allows you to specify how many days you wish to stay on a breathing tube, feeding tube, and IV if you were in a persistent vegetative state. Without this document, the decision will be left to your power of attorney, who is typically a spouse or immediate family member. Thus, an advanced directive is integral to any estate plan.

HIPAA Release Form

“I’m sorry, but we can’t release that information to you.” You do not want loved ones to hear these words in moments of crisis. By listing who you want to receive medical information about your wellbeing, you can avoid this situation. Do not assume you will be able to make this decision upon entering the hospital, as many hospital forms are only valid for the day of your stay. Moreover, if you were taken to the hospital due to an accident that has made you unresponsive, you would not be able to fill out the HIPAA release form. Consequently, it is important to prepare a HIPAA release form now so that your loved ones can stay informed about our wellbeing and assist in any necessary decisions.

 

Personal Property Memorandum

What do I do with my family heirlooms, jewelry, guns, car, paintings, furniture, or musical instruments? This is a common concern that may be overlooked in your estate planning documents. Yet, the solution is straightforward. At Axis Law Group, we provide our clients with a personal property memorandum. A personal property memorandum allows you to list out personal property and designate who will receive each item. Additionally, a personal property memorandum provides you with flexibility because you can change the items on the list or the recipient at any time without having to visit an attorney to update your estate plan.

Instructions for Final Arrangements

Upon your passing, you do not want your family to stress about logistical decisions instead of mourning. To ensure that your wishes are respected and that your family knows what you want, we provide clients instructions for final arrangements. This packet allows you to state whether you want to be buried or cremated, have a funeral or memorial, prefer flowers or no flowers, and other details. Such a packet removes the stress from your friends and family and provides much needed clarity.

Your estate plan needs to be comprehensive. Do not rely on a single document to provide security for you and your loved. Make the wise decision and book a free consultation today with an experienced estate planning attorney at Axis Law Group.