I joined Burkhardt Law about 5 months ago, and since joining the firm I have had an opportunity to shadow Martha. I have learned a lot from her in these 5 months. One of the things I have seen while shadowing her is people who wait until it is too late to create an estate plan. Did you know that for a will to be valid you have to have mental capacity when signing? In the time that I have been at Burkhardt Law I have seen Martha have to turn away potential clients because they no longer had mental capacity to execute an estate plan.
Has a loved one recently been diagnosed with an illness that may affect their mental capacity? Their illness may progress faster then you think and it could become too late to execute an estate plan. If your loved one doesn’t have capacity to execute an estate plan and does not have a power of attorney, it may become difficult to access funds they need. If a power of attorney is not in place, a loved one may only be able to access accounts by going to the court and petitioning for a conservatorship. This can take time and there is the added issue of court costs.
I have also unfortunately seen clients come in when they are sick but still have mental capacity to sign, however, they have passed away before coming back in to sign and execute their documents. That is just heart breaking. Don’t wait until it is too late. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” This is excellent advice especially when it comes to creating an estate plan. You never know what tomorrow will bring so be prepared today.
— Lisa Villareal