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Emotionally-Charged Estate Planning Questions Are Difficult but Necessary

Posted on in Estate Planning

Lombard estate planning attorneyEstate planning is different from any other aspect of the law for one main reason: it focuses heavily on planning for a future the individual creating the estate plan may not be around for. The main purpose of utilizing estate planning tools such as a last will and testament or an advanced care directive is to make plans for end of life care and what happens to our assets after we pass away. While planning for the eventuality of death can be uncomfortable and sad, it is tremendously important. In order to ensure your final wishes will be fulfilled, estate lawyers must ask very challenging questions. However, many people find that preparing for these tough questions in advance makes the entire estate planning process easier. If you have not yet done so, take some time to consider the following questions.

When Do You Want Life Support Ended?

We often think of death as a black-and-white scenario, however it is not always clear when a person’s life is officially ended. For example, the highly-publicized Terri Schiavo case involved an individual in an irreversible, persistent vegetative state. If you become incapacitated like this, do you want doctors to use prolonged artificial life support or mechanical ventilation? When should "the plug be pulled"? An advanced directive or living will gives you the authority to choose what medical treatment you wish to be used around the end of your life. Drafting a document like this also saves your loved ones from having to make these incredibly personal decisions for you.

Who Should Raise Your Children If Both Parents Pass Away?

Many individuals incorrectly assume that estate planning is only necessary for the elderly. However, if you have children of any age, you should have estate planning tools which dictate guardianship in the event of a tragedy. If something happens to you and your child’s other parent, who should be the child’s new legal guardian? Unfortunately, parents who do not make this decision official through legally-binding estate planning documents may not have their wishes granted upon their death. When parents die without choosing a legal guardian for their minor children, the court chooses one or more individuals to become guardians based on the best interest of the child.

 What Are Your Computer and Cell Phone Passwords?

The problem of what happens to social media accounts and computer records upon one’s death is a fairly new one. Laws are still catching up to the growing prevalence of digital information in people’s lives. Things like e-mail, text messages, Facebook accounts, and digital banking apps may contain extremely sensitive and valuable data. A qualified estate planning attorney can help you determine how digital assets should be handled and who should have access to your accounts if you pass away.

Let Us Help

These are only a few of the many questions you may be confronted with when you begin the estate planning process. Fortunately, you do not have to plan for your future alone. Speak with an experienced Lombard, Illinois estate planning lawyer today. Call 630-426-0196 to schedule an appointment.

 

Sources:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/realestate/sc-housing-0728-qa-benny-kass-consumer-20160728-column.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/deborahljacobs/2012/07/24/twelve-estate-planning-questions-that-might-make-you-squirm/#623e68016a7f

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