As part of our own Jonathan Garber’s webcast series, he continues to interview leaders in the community who share tips and strategies to help us all Thrive during the Coronavirus shutdown. Today, Jonathan is joined by Fernando Orrego of OC Estate and Elder Law. They discuss the Three Critical Documents everyone should have during the COVID19 Crisis and how they protect you and your loved ones.
If you’re a leader and want to share your knowledge with the market, email Jonathan at [email protected]
Good morning, everybody. Jon Garber from Flying Chimp Media. Did you know there are three critical documents every couple needs to have and I’m going to tell you about them now joining me. Today is Fernando array go from OC estate and elder law. Did I get that? Right Fernando? Yes, you did OCC another loan. Alrighty estate manager law and he’s taken some time out of his day to share some ideas with you Fernando. Welcome. Thank you so much for joining us. Thank you so much for inviting me. So, we’ve been talking over the past week or so about how people can use this time. I mean, obviously lot of people are busy. I’m busy you’re busy but we have time we’re not driving so many places. We’re not driving to networking meetings or not driving up to Boca and back and forth and down. So, we’ve got some time and it seems like if people particularly couples can take a breath and ask themselves. You know, what? Am I missing something? Right? I mean not to be morbid, but some people are you know, there is a death toll were questioning mortality. We’re looking down at our kids that were spending a lot of time within saying am I doing the thing? Am I have I really positioned them? If something happens and you mentioned there are three things that every couple needs to put into place. Can you share them with us? Sure, and I just like to start off by saying that it’s not only what you’re going to leave but You are alive we definitely need to make sure that you have all the documents in place so that if you do become incapacitated, if you do become sick and you need somebody to make decisions for you, you have those documents in place with the with giving the people the Authority. A lot of people don’t know that even though you’re married husband wife. If something comes up, you’re my case. My wife can’t just go to the bank and sign for me on my accounts joint. It’s a Story, so a power of attorney would be the document to have where I get sick if I’m injured and I can’t get to the bank. Then she has full authority to transact on my behalf as if she were me. So first one is a power of attorney with your spouse, correct, and now they’re the power of attorney. It’s one of those things where there be a specific one where you use just for a closing on a home. On board they could be a durable power of attorney which is covers everything. It’s blanket. That’s the one that you want with your spouse or with a trusted person so that if anything comes up at any point in time, they can help you out. Excellent. What’s the next one? So along those lines you definitely want to make sure you have a health care surrogate. So, so now we have you know, the HIPAA laws are in place those don’t go away. And if you have somebody that you that is sick and you need to get access to their medical information, let’s say you don’t like their doctor. You don’t like the care. They’re there. They have you want to make sure you have access and HIPAA authority to go and obtain those medical records and get that second opinion. So that’s the first thing along those lines. You also want to have somebody that you’ve named to be your health care decision maker if you can’t make Any decision for yourself, that’s critical to t obtaining the best care and then finally and this will depend on someone’s religious point of view. Their personal point of view is the living will portion where I do you want to be kept alive artificially in case things don’t work out so well, okay and under what conditions Exactly, and that’s all spelled out. You know, what is the triggering mechanism so in sum? that people the key thing they want to do is take the burden off of their family member. Nobody wants to be the one to make the decision to pull the plug on you know, our spouse or Mom or Dad if you have it in writing mom or dad has that in writing then you don’t have to make the decision. They’ve made it the moment that he signed that document. So, it makes everybody feel a little bit more at ease during those difficult times. So that’s a health care surrogate and living will yes, well definitely turn more for people to realize is that you’ve got to declare these things when you can once you get hospitalized a lot of things move around if they intubate you they may knock you out you may they induced Comas and some people on purpose because the intubation is so disruptive. It’s too late at that point to really express your wishes. Legally. Is that right? Correct. And you don’t know how many cases that we get, even though on a weekly basis people calling up here and need a power of attorney and it turns out that the person’s already Beyond being able to sign they don’t have capacity to have the ability to sign a document. So, at that point, unfortunately we have very little to do with documentation. The recourse is now going to court and establishing guardianship, which is a very painful process for the family expensive and it’s not a quick solution it is it is something take weeks and with shutdowns courts not being open. I mean this process is really extra complicated now during the shutdown, right? Yes. It makes it it’s made it, you know, everybody working from home who has your file where in the in the queue of the courthouse is it? It does not make it easy. Also, part of that process is having a committee of medical experts go out and visit the person that that is incapacitated and now to do that now exactly my point. So, we definitely it’s a quick document. It’s very straightforward and if it’s an easy one to get done. Great. Oh, yeah, God no. No, that’s great that again. This is about this is about planning. And if you really care about your loved ones your spouse and your kids the time to put those things in writing is now on a clear sunny day. Not in the middle of the illness not if you are in an ambulance on your way to the hospital or anything like that. Exactly you and it also avoids you hear about it all the time, you know families having conflict after somebody is sick or passed away because they have different opinions when bottom line is if somebody has passed away and there’s money involved people’s outlook on family and life changes when there’s money involved. So, speaking of that. What would be the third thing that in a worst-case scenario every couple needs. Absolutely. The third thing would be Distributing your assets or having a plan for how they’re going to be distributed after you’ve passed away if you have whether it’s a will or a trust you want to have somebody in charge somebody you trust that’s going to be able to not only be fair but be diligent in all the processes involved in distributing your estate. Also, you’re going to you’re going want to have a list of what it is that Given to who what percentages some people might just do it as simple as 50/50 if they have two kids, others have a little bit more of a complex. Um Family Dynamics, so you definitely want to make sure that they have you have a plan in place to avoid any family conflict. So, you need a will or trust you need to have someone who’s going to the X as executor of the of that who makes sure that your wishes are actually carried out. I’m afraid of something Fernando. I’m afraid when people say, you know what? I don’t have much I don’t have You know what? I just Jackie stuff on it are they really just ending up dumping all of that on the state and the family really gets nothing if they don’t put it in writing or they have to fight about it. Is that what happens? Well, the in very rare cases does the State of Florida ever end up with your assets? The family always has a chance of recovering even asked finished cheated the state, but what it would not having a plan in Is losing control. So the big misconception out there is that if you have a will then like you see in the movies after companies passed away the attorneys sits on the end of a big oak table and just reads the will and magically everything just transfers over to the family. That’s not really how it works. So, the will just it’s a letter to society more importantly to a judge saying okay. This is a person I want to be in Charge of my stuff. This is who I want to have it. Then after you’ve passed away. They have the probate process which kind of goes outside the scope of what we’re talking about. But there is a process that has to be done afterwards after person passes away if and so have a will. Okay, so that’s the difference is if you don’t have a will you don’t have control. So, if you have two kids that don’t get along for whatever reason and exactly and now, they both have according to the law equal priority. To be that executor personal representative in Florida. They have that equal priority. You know now it’s going go into litigation because you haven’t named who it is along the same lines. Let’s say you have three kids and one of those kids just bad apple estranged not part of your life and you feel that that person doesn’t deserve something then if you have a will you have the ability to name the other two if you don’t have a will unfortunately that kid that wasn’t part of your life is going to be a beneficiary of your estate. So that is the key difference if you have a will, you’re in control. So otherwise the State of Florida is otherwise then it just becomes a drawn-out expensive legal process. Yes. So, here’s what I’ve observed in talking to other attorneys over time. Most of my clients are attorneys a plurality of them is you said if their siblings that don’t get along and what I’ve heard is Siblings could get along fine until they have to fight over assets. And so, they could get along fine. But as soon as you introduce money or something with an emotional attachment there, I’m not calling them greedy. I’m not saying anything just simply there’s something with an emotional attachment their mother’s necklace this ring that’s been in the family. Whatever it is. If you don’t make your wishes known you are the one introducing conflict not the sick not the kids. Exactly Creighton you bring to mind a story you had a client who they choose sisters getting along great there was money, but they were working. Everything was working out fine until they get into Mom’s Kitchen passed away again to Mom’s Kitchen and they find a cookbook, you know something you could have bought in Barnes Noble when Barnes & Noble actually existed for five bucks. You know and they find it, but it turned out that that was a cookbook. Mom had used for 30 years for her Thanksgiving Day recipes. So now it has a sentimental value. How do you divide that up? What do you do? There’s no there’s no plan for that. If you a suggestion to give my clients if when you’re doing your estate plan, if you identify items that are important to you or maybe important to your kids make sure that even if they have no Financial You that you address that in your state plan? Because that that butting heads over that cookbook destroyed the relationship those two sisters and right. So, as we start to wrap up, let’s review those three documents one more time. The first one was the durable of power attorney power of attorney second one is a healthcare surrogate living. Will right, correct, and the third one is Your will or a trust? Correct. CI. That’s Those are the basic documents. Say yeah, you did a great job. Let me ask you this for Nana because you know with the shutdown, I don’t want to be you know sentimental, but we are all in this together, right? We’re all in this you and I’ve been through a bunch of hurricanes here in South Florida when there’s a hurricane. It’s very localized its parts of our parts of Miami parts of the keys. And the rest of the country is fine. They can throw you a Lifeline now. We’re all worldwide in this together. Right? So, I see so many people in different professions reaching out helping people like we’re together trying to do here now legal documents and the law the law is constantly changing write the laws. They say it’s a living breathing thing. So new things come out if someone did these documents or some of them. Five years ago, seven years ago, maybe 10 years ago. Do they need to re-evaluate that based on may be getting new assets or things that have changed in their family or things have changed in the law? Absolutely. I recognize you I recommend to my clients that we just talked over the phone just to catch up an update anything or address any updates at least once a year. If you don’t have contact with the attorney that prepared to your documents if it’s been more than I’d say four or five. Is have somebody review them have an attorney review them? I do that all the time for potential clients. You have an old will that you don’t know you don’t remember what’s in it, right? So just send them my way free review and then we sit down with discuss what you have if you want to update it, right? I can help. If not, we part as friends. It’s absolutely something this I always offer so you’ll you’re offering now. I’ll call it a consultation, but it’s really rare. Review and sort of a strategy session about these critical documents and reviewing what you have and also, you know, you got parents that have moved into the state from out of the state. That’s very common what they drew up in their previous state has two squares with Florida law now if they plan on retiring here and living at their end of their lives here, right? mean is that an issue? Also, we’re absolutely not the same in every state and along those lines. I see Will That are 25 30 years old. You tell me whose life hasn’t changed over the course of like 30 years. So those changes just happen naturally and of course he want to make sure just to make it easier for your family that your documents are compliant with Florida law that that that’s something that goes long way. Excellent. Well Fernando our time is up. Thank you very much. I know that you and I share something in common. Amin which is a real commitment to helping all our local vendors and businesses stay in business. Anyway, we can support local Mom and Pops friends’ businesses that we patronize in the past. We’re still out there trying to spend as much as we can to keep them going flying shit media has the Pass the Hat campaign encouraging businesses to make themselves available and encouraging people out there to go out support their local business, including buy something and have it sent to us. Staff at a hospital. You can always order chocolate pizza food anything mask and have it sent to First Responders or their house and everyone will appreciate that together. We’ll all get through this I thank you so much for your time Fernando. You’re absolutely thank you and I just like to leave business owners one last tip in these times where we’re at home and you know, we’re with family time kind of kind of Ends together and get smushed up and it’s even hard sometimes to remember what day of the week. It is my tip to get around. That is even though it’s comfy to stay in your jammies put on some put on some pants every day, you know comb your hair have some sense of normalcy so that you can stay saying and we’ll all get through this together. That’s a great tip. Thank you so much Fernando. I appreciate your time. Thank you for having me be well.