Deciding to do something “tomorrow” is a dangerous practice. As “tomorrow” turns into “today,” there is always a new “tomorrow,” causing our plans to often be put off again and again. And if that something does not feel important to you or is an uncomfortable topic, then it is that much easier to delay completing it. For most of you, death and taxes are topics that fit into that “uncomfortable” feeling. However, they are two of the most important topics that need to be discussed and thought about.
In my practice, I have individuals come in to tell me that their mom or dad need help paying the bills – in most of these cases the parent is suffering from dementia or some other mental deterioration, and just cannot remember to write the checks. In many of these cases, the situation has progressed too far to do much now. If the parents haven’t gotten the proper documents in place while they have the cognitive ability (also called “capacity”) to execute them, then the only option the children have is to go through a court proceeding – called a guardianship and/or conservatorship – to attain the legal right to act on their parent’s behalf.
These court proceedings are a strain on the family – they are time consuming, expensive, humiliating, and also a matter of public record.
This can all be avoided by getting your estate plan in place today. With a proper estate plan, you get to control who gets to make financial decisions for you, health decisions for you, and ultimately who gets your stuff! And all this without having to go to court.
It is much easier to plan for and help a family who still has the capacity to execute their estate planning documents, so I would rather see you today than in the distant “tomorrow.” In the words of the great Thomas Jefferson, “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.”
Contributed by MH Santa Fe and Las Cruces Estate Planning Attorney James P. Plitz
About Morris Hall:
At Morris Hall, we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 40 years. Along with estate planning, our attorneys help clients and their families with matters of probate, trust administration, wills, power of attorneys, business planning, succession planning, legacy planning, charitable gifting and other important legal aspects. We also have divisions in financial, real estate and accounting to help you incorporate all of your planning together, ensuring that everything works perfectly for your needs and situation. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.