During the holidays it’s all about giving – but have you considered giving your loved ones the gift of less stress and worry as you age? Or giving one final gift when you pass to the next stage of existence? You can make this difficult time much simpler and less stressful with four simple gifts:
Waiting until you are no longer competent to sign documents will only add stress and high legal fees when your family has to file for a guardianship in order to handle the matters you can no longer handle yourself. Prepare a Durable Power of Attorney and keep it safe for when it is needed. A Durable Power of Attorney allows you to name the person or persons you want to have handle your financial affairs while you are still alive but are either incapable or no longer desire to handle them.
Likewise, a Healthcare Surrogate Designation which allows you to name the person or persons to make healthcare decisions for you when you are no longer able to make informed decisions yourself. Leave a copy with your regular physician so your family can quickly make lifesaving decisions for your benefit.
A Living Will can provide for the fact that you do not want your life artificially prolonged after the prognosis of two medical doctors have determined that you are suffering from a terminal condition which has no reasonable expectation of recovery. Imagine the gratitude your family will feel when they do not have to struggle with deciding just what you would want to have done if you aren’t able to share your wishes. Instead of guilt and worry they can spend your final days and hours with you sharing the love and memories of a lifetime.
And one final gift is a Last Will and Testament which can be coupled with a Revocable Living Trust that provides for the distribution of assets upon your demise. You can set out your wishes and make sure that your loved ones receive the gifts that you want them to have after you pass. You can even set out a list of “Aunt Kathryn’s Amethyst necklace” to be delivered to your favorite niece so that she remembers the love and affection the two of you shared throughout a lifetime.
The execution of these documents not only will make it much easier for your loved ones to deal with the circumstances related to your demise but also can make the administration of your estate and ultimate distribution of your assets much more efficient and less expensive. When you are wrapping your Christmas presents this year, give some thought to that last gift you can share with all the family. We’ll be in our office throughout the holiday season and can answer any questions you have.