Hi there. My name is Bridget Mackay. I’m an estate planning attorney in Petaluma, California, and this is my blog.
I want to talk a little bit about sort of a sad subject. I had a client the other day, this has happened before, where they have a diagnosis of a terminal disease. And they come in and they want to make sure their “affairs” are in order, which is often the advice they get from their doctor or loved ones or friends. And they want to protect their spouse and their family and all of those that they love. And so they often come in with this very basic question, that I’ve heard over and over again is, “What is getting my affairs in order? How do I get ready for this?”
Well, legally speaking, aside from everything else, there are a few things you can do. First of all you should talk to a qualified estate planning attorney, because that person will be able to tell you whether you need a trust or a will. They can put together for you those two documents, in addition to other things your family might need, like a power of attorney for your financial affairs, so if you become incapacitated during your illness, your bills could get paid. Your financial affairs can still be conducted and they won’t be halted because you are unable to write a check. And most importantly, a health care directive, so that you’ve named someone to make health choices for you when you’re unable to.
Those are a few things you can do to put your affairs in order. And remember what I said in the beginning, the bottom line is, is really get someone who knows what they’re doing, get a qualified estate planning attorney in your area to help you with this.