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Monday, July 18, 2011

Life After Death Part 1: Protecting the Lives of Loved Ones After your Death

I was doing a little home office cleaning the other day when I happened to notice my “In Case of Emergency Break Glass” file.  This is a group of documents that I’ve collected, grouped, and stored away that will provide our unique family with legal legs should the worst (or inevitable) happens. It is important to not only have your estate plan(s), medical directive(s), and other end-of-life instructions established in as close to airtight legal guidelines as possible, but to make others aware of exactly where the documents are located should circumstances prove necessary. The last thing your loved ones need while they are grieving is a legal battle, which is why I’ve decided to create a four part blog series to cover this very important topic.

Without sounding alarmist, having this collection of emergency documents is essential to the future well-being of unique families.  The court system is not necessarily prepared for or fully supportive of those families that lay outside of the “traditional” majority.  Part of why I do what I do is because so many unique families like my own have had to wage long, uphill legal battles just to protect their families and property.  I am a lawyer and I cannot emphasize enough my own frustrations with how much documentation I had to create just to protect my own family should something happen to either myself or my partner.  And yet…regardless of my anger with the system, I have accepted that this is my current reality and have taken the appropriate steps needed to protect my family.

For those of you out there who are members of a unique family: GLBT families, single mothers, grandparents raising minor children… having your legal documents in a secure, easily obtainable place that is well-known by all vested parties is absolutely essential to your family’s future security and happiness.  Trust me, you do not want to have to fight for your children or the home you helped to pay for in a court of law.

It is my hope that this series of posts will help you create our own “emergency” legal repository so that when/if the worst should happen your loved ones are taken care of in the manner that you intended for them.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Tin Star Self Storage

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From within Hennepin County Unique Estate Law represents estate planning and elder law clients throughout Minnesota, including Minneapolis, Edina, Bloomington, St. Louis Park, Minnetonka, Plymouth, Wayzata, Maple Grove, St. Paul, and Brooklyn Park. The Minnesota law firm of Unique Estate Law focuses on all aspects of estate planning, including specialized wills, trusts, powers of attorney and medical directives for married couples, young families, blended families, single parents, gay families and those going through a divorce. Unique Estate Law also handles probate administration, asset protection, Medical Assistance planning, elder law, business succession planning, adoptions and cabin planning.



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