On Thursday, September 7, 2017, McGuire Wood & Bissette hosted “Planning Well,” a panel discussion moderated by Kathleen Rodberg exploring how to plan in advance for financial, health, and legal issues in life, and the consequences of not planning. Five panelists shared their professional insight and knowledge with the audience based on their experiences.
(from L to R above) Mary Caldwell, Coordinator for Ethics and Values at Mission Hospital, Anna Osborne, Associate General Counsel at Mission Health, Jacqui Friedrich, CFP, Director of Financial Planning at Altavista Wealth Management, Richard Kort, Attorney in the Trusts, Estates & Elder Law Practice Group of McGuire Wood & Bissette, Tiffany Tyler, Assistant Clerk of Court in Buncombe County Estates Division.
Ms. Friedrich and Mr. Kort explained the importance of financial planners and attorneys working together to coordinate the wishes of their clients. This coordination as part of a team helps ensure that unique family circumstances or financial situations are addressed in advance, avoiding costly surprises in the future. Financial planners also help clients plan for future goals such as paying for college expenses, saving for a large purchase, or planning for retirement.
Mrs. Caldwell and Mrs. Osborne offered perspectives and advice for those facing health care challenges. They shared stories of families in dispute over end of life issues and explained ways these conflicts can be avoided. In particular, particular emphasis was placed on selecting a health care agent that can follow through on your health care treatment and end of life wishes. It is not only important to articulate these wishes, but to do so with properly executed legal documents that can be honored by your health care providers.
Mrs. Tyler explained how missteps in creating a last will and testament, or not having any last will and testament, can ultimately result in family conflict or with unclear wishes. Seeking professional help in drafting such documents ensure that your wishes are honored. Tyler also clarified what type of assistance her office can provide to members of the public, and at what point professional guidance from an attorney is needed.
If you are interested in learning more about these issues and how to plan in advance so that your wishes are honored, please contact a member of our Trusts, Estates & Elder Law Practice Group or call (828) 254-8800.