Estate planning is something everyone should do as soon as they become an adult. With the right estate plan in place, you and your family will be prepared for situations and emergencies that, even though some are unlikely, can strike at any time. Unfortunately, a lot of people do not take the initiative to begin estate planning as soon as they should. When people without an estate plan are suddenly confronted with an emergency situation, they are often left scrambling in an attempt to address the important legal issues that estate plans cover. If you are facing a personal or family emergency and want to know what you can do as far as estate planning is concerned, here are a couple of tips.
Tip 1. Talk to a lawyer right away.
If a personal or family emergency strikes, you probably won’t have much time to devote to estate planning. Because of this, talking to an experienced estate planning attorney immediately is a necessity. You don’t have the luxury of taking time to learn about estate planning issues yourself, and you will need to rely on the advice of an experienced expert to help you assemble a plan as quickly as possible.
Tip 2. Think about emergency medical choices.
One of the most important issues your emergency estate plan will need to address is the topic of medical choices. For example, many people create an emergency estate plan after they learn that have been diagnosed with a terminal illness. People in such situations often have not considered difficult medical decisions and issues in the past, and are forced to make choices quickly. Yet if you have a serious medical condition, your time to make these decisions is probably limited. If you don’t get around to making an important choice, how will your doctors know what you would want?
This is why you need to create advance medical directives as soon as possible. Through your directives you will not only detail the types of care you want to accept or refuse, but will also be able to name another person who can make medical decisions for you after you have become incapacitated.
Tip 3. Think about guardians.
Parents of young children who have been diagnosed with a terminal medical condition also need to consider who they want to name as guardian of their children. This is a difficult decision to make, but it’s a question you must face, and do so immediately.
Tip 4. Prepare for court.
If a close family member has suddenly experienced an emergency that has left him or her incapacitated, you will probably have to go to court and ask the court to name a guardian. A guardianship proceeding has its own requirements, and you’ll need to talk to a lawyer right away and be prepared to act quickly.
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