Written by Alessandra M. Messineo Long, Esq.
While the challenges of COVID-19 make meeting in person undesirable, there are ways to work together remotely. Having your estate documents in place provides peace of mind in knowing your affairs are in order to protect you and your loved ones.
Some examples of a valuable estate plan:
Preparing for You and Your Estate in a time of Crisis
Preparation means taking action today to improve your health or circumstances tomorrow. Preparing isn’t limited to your physical well-being. Being prepared includes confirmation that your financial, social, and emotional needs are met when the unexpected strikes. Estate planning isn’t just about preparing a Will. Good estate planning includes identifying the people in your life who you trust the most to care for you and your loved ones, outlining your own health choices, and establishing financial stability when you’re sick, injured, or quarantined.
Wills and Trusts Ease the Burden of Your Loss
By preparing even a simple Will and/or a Trust, you can alleviate the significant burden that death often leaves behind. Having either of these important estate planning instruments sets forth who will care for your minor children, who will receive your assets, and save a significant part of your estate from taxes, fees and costs. For those who have a loved one who is currently receiving needs-based benefits, Special Needs Trusts can be established for purposes of receiving your assets while continuing to qualify for those benefits. For parents who own a home in New York or Connecticut, a trust can help to provide for your children for many years after you’re gone. This is especially helpful when distributing assets to a minor, as a trust can be structured to make distributions over time. The planning you do now can help put your child through college, vocational training, or other predetermined goals.
Guardianship Designation for Your Children
Providing care for minor children is one of the most important elements in estate planning. A Guardian is someone you appoint who will be responsible for the care of your child or children if both parents die. He or she will be responsible for the daily care of the minor, as well as the determination of the child’s residency, education, religious affiliation and medical care. Family members and close family friends are a logical choice as Guardians. Preparing an estate instrument now would provide that your choice of Guardian will be chosen, rather than a judge making that decision.
Power of Attorney to Pay Bills or Handle Business
A Power of Attorney (POA) is an extremely flexible estate planning document which allows another person to make certain decisions for you. Some of the items covered in a POA include the power to collect and manage personal property, buy and sell real estate, borrow money, perform financial transactions, conduct and participate in business decisions, and the ability to prepare, file & sign tax returns. The key elements in a POA are a) that the power is given by a person who is of sound mind, b) is revocable at any time, and c) the powers are in addition to your own powers.
Advanced Health Care Directives
A Health Care Proxy and Living Will addresses issues involving medical treatment and decisions when you are unable to make the decisions yourself and/or succumb to a medical state which is deemed terminal. These include the use of life support systems, nutrition, artificial means of life support and any decisions regarding anatomical gifts (donation of organs). In the Living Will instrument you appoint someone to make the decisions regarding the items set forth above based upon your health care directions. That person is charged with the responsibility of following your instructions set forth in the instrument. From an emotional perspective, this instrument is enormously important to family and friends as it removes any doubt regarding your medical wishes.
Alessandra is currently the Principle at her own firm, Law Offices of Alessandra M. Messineo Long, LLC. She represents Corporations, Non Profit Organizations, small businesses, entrepreneurs, consultants as well as individuals. She practices in the areas of Corporate Contracts and Corporate Formation, General Business Law, Non Profit Organizations, Wills, Trusts and Estates, and Sexual Abuse matters.
Alessandra M. Messineo Long, Esq.
Law Offices of Alessandra M. Messineo Long, LLC
34 Field Road, Riverside, CT 06878
Tel (203) 249-3601