Planning for your estate after crisis hits

Recently, a couple came to us facing an aggressive, terminal diagnosis for one of them. There is likely little time left. Soon after, a meeting was held at a health care facility to review estate documents with a man hopefully recovering from a very serious health condition. He was lucid but so weak he could barely sign the documents.

The good news is that, in both instances, we were able to put their estate plan into place. This is definitely not always the case. Another client made and appointment months earlier, but decided to wait before completing her estate plan. The next time we saw her was at her bedside trying to determine her wishes. In that instance, an estate plan was not able to be created prior to her passing. 

For those folks in the first example, estate planning after the crisis created significant burdens. Instead of focusing on loved ones and those that matter most, they had to make sure their estate planning was done. For them, estate planning was not a source of comfort; it had become a desperate burden. 

In the other example, our weakened client found himself caught between two well-meaning loved ones. Trying to help, they were gently pressuring him to make choices they thought best for him ... or maybe for themselves. We had to take additional steps to ensure his weakened condition had not left him susceptible to coercion, even if that was not the conscious intent of his loved ones.

When a health crisis strikes, extra time may be a blessing for many reasons. This is not necessarily true for estate planning. At that vulnerable time, the challenges to effective planning will likely be significantly greater. Don’t miss the opportunity now to plan when you can.

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Garrett Forsgren is a local attorney who provides free estate planning presentations. His office can be reached at 970-245-8021 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Steve Wright is an attorney in Idaho Springs, Idaho.


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