What if You Get Sick or Die?
by Beth Newcomb
If you were having your left ventricle replaced, you wouldn’t pick an OB-GYN to do the procedure. The same idea should apply to your estate planning, says Strongsville attorney John J. Urban.
“A lot of attorneys ‘dabble’ in probate, wills and trusts. But that can be costly to their clients,” he notes. “I recently helped someone get back over $10,000 in taxes that were lost due to an error made by an attorney who didn’t concentrate in the estate planning field.”
John’s been an estate lawyer since 1975.
“You are never too young to start thinking about having a will or powers of attorney,” John advises. “If you have money, if you have a family, you need to have a plan.”
John says the key components to a well-planned estate include a will, a living will, and a durable power of attorney for finances and healthcare. “If you get sick or die, these are the basic documents that you need to have in place,” he advises. “I call it having a Critical Family Protection Plan because these documents are vital to protecting yourself and your estate.”
John states that most spouses think they are automatically protected against asset loss because they are married, but that’s not the case. “If you aren’t joint on property or bank accounts and investments and a spouse gets sick, you will have to go through probate court and have a guardian appointed who will make the decisions as to which bills get paid and what monies are used. In the meantime, all accounts are frozen and you cannot access any funds. It can be devastating, emotionally and personally,” he says. “If you are incapacitated, precious time will be lost while your family struggles to get a guardian appointed because you didn’t have a plan in place. Nobody will have the power to make decisions on your behalf.”
As a member of the AARP network, John provides a free 45-minute legal services consultation to members in person or on the phone and offers his services at a contracted discount rate. Be sure to mention your membership when you schedule your appointment. House calls and select evening appointments available.
To reach attorney John J. Urban, call 440-846-0000, ext. 227. His offices are located at 11221 Pearl Road, in Strongsville. Visit the website at www.jjurbanlaw.com.