You never know when it could happen, but you need to be prepared for when it does.
Receiving a serious health diagnosis can be one of the most stressful things someone can experience. Even if treatment is successful, confronting this can serve as a wake-up call to make sure your estate plan is up-to-date and in order.
In an ideal world, we would work in our business until we were ready to hand it over to the next generation and retire in peace. But the world doesn’t really work that way, so it’s imperative to plan now so that you are prepared for when the unexpected happens.
We strongly recommend taking the following steps so that your heirs, your partners and your employees can manage operations and makes sure your business is not jeopardized during a health crisis.
- Make sure your will and estate plan are up to date. Review whether you need to add or remove any beneficiaries. Verify that the people you have named as your personal representative, trustee or legal guardian are still willing and able to fill those roles – or if those are who you still would like to fulfill those duties.
- Update your records of account information, essential documents, and any personal property.
- If you own a business with several owners, consider drafting a buy-sell agreement that outlines how the sale process for the business and owners’ interests are determined and paid; whether the remaining owners have the option or obligation to buy the deceased or incapacitated partner’s interest; and whether certain individuals will be allowed – or not allowed – to participate in the business.
- Consider creating a trust. A revocable living trust is one that allows your successor trustees to manage your assets while you are undergoing treatment. A traditional trust allows any assets owned by the trust to bypass the probate process upon your death. In any event, we encourage you to appoint an agent under a financial power of attorney to assist with managing your finances should you become incapacitated.
We understand looking ahead to these possibilities can be overwhelming. Please call us if you have any questions.