Protecting Your Family During Uncertain Times

Disclosure :: this post is sponsored by Rotharmel Shanks, LLC.

Protecting Your Family During Uncertain Times

Covid-19 has taught us a lot over the past few months. One important lesson is that you need to have protections in place for your family in the event of the worst-case scenario. No one likes to think about their death or incapacitation. However, it is important to take some time out to plan for such events to make sure your family is protected. This article will discuss three easy steps you can take now to quickly protect yourself and your family.

  1. Will, Guardianship & Trusts

A will outlines how you would like your property to be distributed amongst your heirs. A special feature that can be included in a will that is important to the Nola Mom’s Blog community is the designation of a guardian. A guardian is a person you designate to care for your children in the event of you and your spouse’s death. This may be a certain grandparent or other relative you would prefer to have custody of your children.

If you have young children, you may also want to leave your property to them in the form of a trust. A trust limits the heirs’ access to the inheritance until a certain age to protect them from squandering the inheritance.

You can find simple will formats online. However, you must ensure you are following Louisiana law regarding the preparation of wills. It would be beneficial to consult with an attorney when preparing your will, especially if you are including a guardian and/or trust.

  1. Advance Medical Directive

Advance medical directives are legal documents that explain your choices about medical treatment or designate someone to make decisions about your medical treatment. These documents are referred to as “advance” directives because they are prepared in advance so that your health care providers will know your wishes concerning medical treatment in the event you are not able to communicate.

You can easily find free advance directives on the internet with instructions on how to fill the document out. An attorney can also prepare an advance directive for you if you do not feel comfortable completing the document yourself.

  1. Power of Attorney

There are two types of power of attorney in Louisiana – a general power of attorney and a medical power of attorney. A general power of attorney allows a person of your designation the powers to maintain your affairs – such as access your bank account to pay bills, manage any properties you may own, or manage any businesses you may own, among other things – in the event you are not able to do so. A healthcare power of attorney grants authority to another person to make medical decisions on your behalf.

A healthcare power of attorney is different than an advance medical directive as it would allow the person named in the power of attorney to make any medical decisions on your behalf such as placement in a nursing home or hiring of home health care. An advance medical directive only appoints a person to make decisions regarding life-sustaining procedures in emergency situations.

You can also find power of attorney forms online. However, if you own significant property or businesses, I would recommend consulting with an attorney for preparation of any advance healthcare directives.

These are three easy steps you can take to make sure there is no confusion regarding your wishes for your healthcare and your family in the event you become incapacitated. Each of these steps can easily be accomplished with one visit to an attorney if you choose to have an attorney prepare the documents for you.

About Tracy Rotharmel Shanks

Tracy Rotharmel Shanks is a family law attorney practicing in the Greater New Orleans Area at her law firm, Rotharmel Shanks, LLC. She lives Uptown with her husband, two children, and one baby on the way. Tracy welcomes any questions regarding this article – you can reach her at tracy@rotharmelshanks.com or at 504-509-5000.

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