As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the State of Iowa, our office has received an increasing number of calls from concerned clients wanting to either have estate planning documents prepared or to update their existing documents. As such, we thought a brief summary of some of the basic estate planning documents might be useful.
Powers of Attorney
Although people often begin a discussion on estate planning with a review of Wills, one of the best things you can do to ensure your family is prepared for the unexpected while you are still alive is to execute Powers of Attorney. There are two types of Powers of Attorney – Healthcare Powers of Attorney and Financial Powers of Attorney.
Healthcare Powers of Attorney allow you to designate an individual, or multiple individuals, as your agent to make healthcare decisions for you in the event you are unable to do so yourself. Included in many Healthcare Powers of Attorney are Living Will provisions that allow you to indicate the type of life-sustaining procedures you would like to receive in the event you are unable to make decisions for yourself and your doctors determine you cannot recover.
While Healthcare Powers of Attorney only give your agent the ability to make healthcare decisions for you, Financial Powers of Attorney give your agent the ability to make most other types of decisions for you.
The Financial Powers of Attorney can be as narrow or broad in scope as you desire and can apply immediately or upon your inability to make decisions for yourself. You can revoke Powers of Attorney at any time; however, they are automatically revoked upon your death and your agent will not be able to make any additional decisions for you on your behalf.
Last Will and Testament
Most people understand that a Will allows you to indicate who you would like to receive your property upon your death. However, many people do not realize that a Will also allows you to nominate who you would like to serve as the guardian of your minor children in the event you pass away before they are adults. A Will can also establish a Testamentary Trust that nominates a Trustee to manage your assets upon your death for the benefit of your child or children. This is especially useful should you pass away with minor children as the Trustee could make expenditures for their benefit until they reached a certain age, at which point the Trustee may distribute the assets to them outright.
During a time when there is so much uncertainty regarding the future, knowing you have a properly prepared estate plan in place can bring some much-needed peace of mind. If you would like to discuss your estate plan with one of our estate planning attorneys, please give our Des Moines or our Pella office a call. Additionally, you may contact us directly at the following email addresses:
Craig Shannon: email@example.com
Heather Timmins: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jonathan De Reus email@example.com