New potential clients routinely and casually advise that their estate plan prepared during a prior marriage has never been updated. When I let them know that the ex-spouse may still hold the power to make decisions on their behalf, including life and death medical decisions, they quickly understand the need to revisit their estate plan. Either as part of, or immediately after divorce, careful consideration of any estate plan needs to be a high priority. If no estate plan exists, it is then time to invest in one.
Any meaningful estate plan includes so much more than a will. You should use an estate plan to address potential needs during your life as well as plan for when you pass. Your estate plan, in addition to a will or trust structure, at a minimum, should include the following:
General Durable Power of Attorney
If you become incapacitated, a designated representative(s) can manage your business affairs per your specific instructions.
Advanced Health Care Power of Attorney
If you become incapacitated, a designated representative(s) can make medical decisions, including life-sustaining choices, on your behalf per your specific instructions.
Expression of end of life medical choices.
Allows listed individuals access to your medical information if you are not able to authorize such access.
These documents serve as your protection if you are not able to express your wishes during your life. Once established, there is no need to go to court. There is no delay. And, make certain that these documents reflect your choice of those to act as your agents (and most probably not your ex-spouse!) if ever called upon.
To learn more about comprehensive estate plans, contact Michael Geiger at Geiger Law. Michael’s direct line is (901) 219-5549.