There are frequent examples of famous names and faces that pass away, leaving us with reminders of the importance of estate planning at all ages. In recent weeks:
- The importance of planning young: Sarah Burke. We all think that we’re going to live forever. I think this is part of human nature. We also think that, if we’re healthy, then we will be healthy forever. Unfortunately, accidents and illnesses happen to the young and to the healthy, as the death of 29-year old Olympic skier Sarah Burke tells us. If you don’t have a medical power of attorney in place, you don’t choose who will be making the decisions on your behalf. If you don’t have a living will (part of the power of attorney for medical decisions in California), then your family doesn’t know what your wishes are.
- The importance of a power of attorney: Etta James. When Etta James died, her family was in the midst of a conservatorship battle. A conservatorship is the formal title of the person given legal rights to make decisions on behalf of your estate/assets and of your medical decisions. If you have a power of attorney, in most cases a conservatorship is not necessary. Etta James’ husband had conservatorship over the singer, and in just late December, asked the court to release $500,000 for her monthly medical care, the cost of which was $30,000. The court released $350,000. Because of concern over her medical care and the cost, her two sons petitioned the court to change the conservatorship over to them. The last thing you want your family to have to contend with when you are gravely ill is an issue such as this. If you make plans ahead of time, you and your family will both be protected.
- The importance of planning, period: Steig Larsson. The author of the widely successful “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” trilogy died suddenly of a heart attack at age 50. He had no will. While his estate went to his family members, his girlfriend of 32 years has possession of a fourth unpublished manuscript, and the legal battle rages on.
Whatever you age, size of estate, or health status, you need an estate plan to protect yourself and your loved ones. Why wait? Make a FREE appointment online now.
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