Estate Planning Lawyer in Chesterfield
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Estate Planning During Troubled Times

Troubled or difficult times often remind us that we should be prepared for the unexpected. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought this realization to many leaving them to wonder what needs to be done to prepare an estate plan.

If you have been wondering how to put a plan together, now is the time to get started on your plan or review your existing plan. When most people think about an estate plan, they usually look at preparing a will or perhaps a trust. While the will puts someone in charge of our estate and generally designates who will benefit from the estate, there are other documents that are equally important to consider when thinking about your estate plan. In fact, there are three documents that can be very important to you during your lifetime.

Healthcare Power of Attorney - The healthcare power of attorney or, as sometimes referred to as a patient advocate form, appoints an agent to act in your place to make decisions regarding your healthcare, living arrangements, or even life and death should you become unable to make those decisions for yourself. While some might assume that their next of kin, such as a spouse or parent could make those decisions, that is not correct. Without an official appointment, your family should have to go to the local probate court to seek the appointment of a guardian in order to make these life and death decisions. That process can sometimes take weeks to complete leaving an injured or seriously ill person in limbo until someone has the authority to make decisions on their behalf.  The healthcare power of attorney drafted by our office also ensures that your agent has access to all of the medical information they need and the ability to discuss your medical care with your physicians in order to make informed decisions on your behalf. 

Living Will - A living will is sometimes referred to as an advanced directive. It is drafted to give your agent and medical providers some guidance regarding life-prolonging procedures. Typically the living will provides some direction regarding the drafter's desire to be placed on ventilators, to be given cardio resuscitation, feeding tubes, pain medication, and other end of life decisions.

Durable Power of Attorney - A power of attorney appoints an agent to act on your behalf to make financial decisions on your behalf at times that you might direct. For example, generally in the case of an estate plan, most people like to grant their agent authority to make most financial decisions on their behalf in the event they are no longer able to do so. Those types of decisions could include the operation of a business, the selling of real estate, the payment of bills, and generally make all of their financial decisions. Again, this type of document can be drawn as broadly as possible or limited to only certain circumstances, depending upon the wishes of the drafter.

If you have begun wondering about whether or not you should begin the estate planning process, now is the best time to do so. It is important to have appointment decisions in place and to have documents drafted before there is some unfortunate circumstance that leaves us unable to do so. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that unfortunate circumstances can come about at any time and from any direction. It is best to get our planning done before we are unable or there is an emergency situation.

Let Us Help You Create an Estate Plan

The estate planning attorneys at Penzien & McBride, PLLC have been helping families and business owners make these types of decisions for nearly two decades. Reach out if you are looking for a compassionate and experienced legal professional to guide you through each step of the estate planning process.

Call Penzien & McBride, PLLC at (586) 690-4400 to learn more about our estate planning and probate administration services. Our offices are located in Chesterfield Township and are easily accessible for the surrounding communities of New Baltimore, Macomb Township, and Harrison Township.

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