When you've suffered a personal injury, it's crucial to take steps to protect your assets and ensure your loved ones are taken care of in the event of your incapacity or death. Estate planning is the process of arranging for the management and distribution of your assets during your lifetime and after your death. In this blog post, we'll discuss the top 5 estate planning documents you need to have in place after a personal injury and how they can help safeguard your financial future.
1. Last Will and Testament
A Last Will and Testament is a legal document that outlines how you want your assets distributed after your death. It also allows you to name a guardian for your minor children and an executor to manage your estate. After a personal injury, it's essential to review and update your will to ensure it reflects your current wishes and accounts for any changes in your financial situation.
2. Durable Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney is a document that grants someone you trust the authority to manage your financial affairs if you become incapacitated. This person, called your agent, can pay bills, manage investments, and make other financial decisions on your behalf. Having a durable power of attorney in place is crucial after a personal injury, as it ensures someone can step in to manage your finances if you are unable to do so yourself.
3. Advance Healthcare Directive
An Advance Healthcare Directive is a document that outlines your healthcare wishes if you become unable to communicate or make decisions for yourself. It typically includes a living will, which specifies the medical treatments you do or do not want, and a healthcare power of attorney, which appoints someone to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. After a personal injury, it's essential to have an advance healthcare directive in place to ensure your medical care aligns with your preferences.
Trusts are legal arrangements that allow a third party, called a trustee, to hold and manage assets on behalf of a beneficiary. Trusts can help you avoid probate, reduce estate taxes, and provide for your loved ones after your death. After a personal injury, you may want to consider establishing a trust to protect your assets and provide for your family's future needs.
5. Beneficiary Designations
Many financial accounts, such as retirement plans and life insurance policies, allow you to designate a beneficiary to receive the assets upon your death. It's important to review and update your beneficiary designations after a personal injury to ensure they reflect your current wishes and account for any changes in your financial situation.
At Bailey | Stock | Harmon | Cottam | Lopez LLP, our experienced estate planning attorneys can help you create a comprehensive estate plan tailored to your unique needs and circumstances. We understand the challenges and uncertainties that come with a personal injury, and we're committed to helping you protect your assets and provide for your loved ones. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about our estate planning services.