l e g a l e a g l e s
Family Matters b y F r a n k Wa t s o n a n d K i m b e r l y Wa t s o n S e w e l l
A re you someone’s child, sibling, nephew, niece, cousin, uncle, aunt, spouse, parent, grandparent, or even great-grandparent? [Note: Chances are quite good that you are.] If so, then you are part of a family and, likely, your family matters a great deal to you. In this article, we review some fundamental estate planning matters every family member needs to address through proper estate planning. In fact, the failure to address these legal matters can inconvenience, if not harm, your loved ones. Accordingly, feel free to share this article with your near and dear ones. You and they will be glad you did. Personal Responsibility Car crashes, Alzheimer’s, and strokes. Injuries and illnesses can strike anyone, leaving them legally incapacitated. And, once you are legally incapacitated, you can no longer manage your own personal, health care, or financial affairs. Nevertheless, important decisions affecting you must be made, despite your lack of legal capacity, often on a day-to-day basis. For example, your incapacity would not excuse you from paying your bills or your taxes. Do you have any members of your family whom you would want to manage your personal, health care and financial affairs should you become incapacitated? Do you have any members of your family whom you would not want to manage your affairs under any circumstances? Either way, if you are an adult (i.e., at least age 18 in most states) and have not made proper estate plans to appoint the incapacity decision-makers of your own selection, then a court will be required to appoint someone for you. Unfortunately, the Court may appoint someone whom you would never have chosen to be your decision maker. That, in turn, could lead to exposure of your personal, health care, and financial circumstances as well as generate significant court costs and legal fees along the way. In short, an ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of cure. Parental Responsibility Are you the parent of minor children? If so, then they are your most valuable treasures. What arrangements have you made for their care should something happen to you and their other parent? As with your personal, health care and financial decisions, would you rather select the back-ups yourself or let a Court make the selection without your input? Bottom line: Only through proper estate planning can you appoint the guardians (i.e., back-up parents) for your minor children.
Boomer Responsibility If you were born between 1946 and 1965, then you are a Baby Boomer. Have you asked your parents or grandparents whether they have made proper estate plans for themselves should they become incapacitated? Whom have they appointed to make their personal, health care and financial decisions? Where are these legal instruments and other important personal and financial records kept? If long-term care becomes necessary, have they insured this risk with some form of long-term care insurance and, if so, with which insurance carrier? Inheritance Responsibility Wealth built through a lifetime of toil and thrift can disappear in one roll of the dice, a divorce property settlement, a lawsuit judgment, or a bankruptcy decree... unless legal plans are made to protect and preserve it in advance. No one appreciates the value of a dollar more than the person who earned and paid taxes on it. An inherited dollar just spends differently once it has been inherited. Even if that same inherited dollar is not squandered, it may attract and invite problems. Qualified legal counsel can help you make the proper plans to protect any inheritance you may leave both from and for your heirs. That said, a perfect inheritance plan has been defined as s pending your children’s inheritance and having your last check bounce to the funeral home . Nonetheless, it can be difficult to work that timing out perfectly, so making proper legal plans may still be the “perfect” choice.
Kimberly Watson Sewell and Frank Watson
ASK YOURSELF... These Questions Regarding “Family Matters.”
oversee any inheritance I may leave to my heirs, without subjecting such inheritance to the squandering, divorces, lawsuits or bank- ruptcies of my heirs? 5. Have I discussed all of the matters contained in questions one through four above with my family members, so that they will be prepared and will not be surprised by my estate plans?
1. Have I made proper estate plans to appoint the persons I know and trust to make my personal, health care and financial decisions should I ever become incapacitated? 2. Have I made proper estate plans to appoint the persons I know and trust to carry out my wishes upon my death? 3. Have I made proper estate plans to appoint the persons I know and trust to rear my minor children to adulthood with my shared core beliefs and values? 4. Have I made proper estate plans to appoint the persons and/or institutions I know and trust to
For more information, please contact: Watson Sewell, PL (850) 231-3465, www. watsonsewell.com
3 8 | T H E T H I R T Y- A R E V I E W | M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 2 1
Made with FlippingBook - Online catalogs