One of the best parts of life is that it’s not predictable. You never know what may happen and how things may change, not only from year to year, but day to day. Tomorrow could be the day you get the job offer of your dreams, and a month from now you may find yourself moving to another state or even country. That is what makes life exciting! However, given that life is unpredictable, we also need to be prepared for the unexpected, even when the unexpected is not in our favor.
Any number of things can happen, whether that be the loss of a loved one or an unexpected illness. Although we may not be able to know when these instances may occur, we can plan for them. Trust & Will, a leader in online estate planning services, is dedicated to helping make sure that you are prepared for whatever comes your way in the future. That is why we have put together this article to go over four common life events that may occur that can lead to unexpected expenses and how to plan for them.
Keep reading to learn how to plan for the following unexpected life events:
Caring for a Family Member
As your parents get older, it is likely that they may begin to need more assistance to take care of themselves. In dire circumstances, it can even occur that they may need to rely on you to take care of all of their daily needs, as well as trust you with their health. In order to protect your parents and ensure that you have the necessary paperwork to be able to help them in the way that they need, you will want to talk to your parents about their Health Care Directive and who their chosen Health Care Proxy will be.
What is a Health Care Directive and Health Care Proxy?
A Health Care Directive is a legally binding document that details the health care wishes of the person who has created it. For example, it may include details on what to do if you are in a coma, whether or not you would like extraordinary measures used to save you, what sort of medications you are allergic to, and much more.
A Health Care Proxy is a document that details who you would appoint to manage your healthcare responsibilities and decisions in the event that you could no longer make those decisions. Situations, where this might occur, could include coma, memory issues, dementia, Alzheimer's disease, or if you were to be diagnosed with brain death.
Although it can be difficult to have these conversations, the consequences of choosing to forgo this discussion will be much more challenging. Each of these documents is crucial to ensuring that your loved ones’ health care wishes will be met if they cannot be the ones to advocate for themselves. Additionally, the legal expenses you may incur trying to gain guardianship of your parents can be expensive if you do not have these documents.
Losing a Loved One
Losing a loved one is a challenging enough time on its own as you struggle with your grief and loss. Adding on tasks such as sorting through belongings and inheritance, and determining what their burial wishes are can bring unneeded stress. To help avoid these challenges, be sure to talk to your loved ones about creating a Will or Trust.
What is a Will and Trust?
A Will is a legal document that details who you want your assets—cars, houses, jewelry, property, etc.—to go to once you pass away. This document is an important part of your overall Estate Plan because it ensures you will have control over who your assets go to, alleviating stress on loved ones, as well as helping shorten the probate process, which can be time-consuming and costly.
A Trust is similar, in that you are able to create a document where you leave an individual in charge of your assets within the Trust until you pass away and they are passed on to their new owners. The benefit of a Trust is that it will allow you to skip the probate court process in its entirety for the items within the Trust, saving your loved ones from an expensive process.
A divorce can be an incredibly difficult time for a number of reasons, including dealing with having to split your joint assets between the two of you. To help make this process easier, it is important to always ensure a thorough and up-to-date record of all joint assets and finances within your Will or Trust. This way, in the event that you must go through a divorce, you both have a clear understanding of your joint assets and what needs to be settled. This can help end confusion and make an already stressful process less challenging and expensive.
Handling an Injury or Illness
You can never know what injuries or illnesses you may incur in your lifetime, whether that be an accident that lands you in a coma or an illness that appears over time, such as Alzheimer's disease. Be aware that if these unfortunate scenarios were to occur in your lifetime, creating both a Health Care Directive and Health Care Proxy, can help you and your loved ones to be prepared for any healthcare decisions that may follow. By having both of these documents, you will not only have a legal written document clarifying your wishes for your healthcare, but also a trusted individual appointed by you to advocate for you if needed.
Unexpected life events that can have a drastic effect on your life can be scary, but we can do our best to prepare for them and decrease our worries by having a comprehensive Estate Plan. Trust & Will is here to help you do just that. With our online estate planning services, you can create a Will or Trust-Based Estate Plan all from the comfort of your own home. To help get you started on your estate planning journey, we even offer a free online estate planning quiz to point you in the right direction.
Don’t waste any more time worrying about the unexpected, get started preparing your Estate Plan today by taking our free quiz!