Meet Laurie E. Ohall:
Laurie Ohall is a Florida Board Certified Elder law attorney who has been practicing law since 1994. She concentrates her practice in the areas of estate planning and elder law which includes the related fields of asset protection planning, probate, guardianship and trust administration. Ms. Ohall is Of Counsel at the law firm of Browning, Meyer and Ball Co., LPA.
Ms. Ohall is a member of the Florida Bar (1994) and the Ohio Bar (2010) and is also admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the Northern, Middle, and Southern Districts of Florida. She is a member of the Brandon Bar Association (Past President, 2009 – 2010, Treasurer 2010-2011), the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), and the Academy of Florida Elder Law attorneys (AFELA). She is also a section member of the Real Property, Probate, and Trust Law Division and the Elder Law division of the Florida Bar, and serves as co-chair of the Resident’s Rights Committee for the Elder law section. Ms. Ohall is also a Board member of the Momentum Festival, Inc., a not-for-profit committed to raising money for local charities.
Ms. Ohall graduated in 1991 from Stetson University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and received her Juris Doctorate in 1994 from Stetson University College of Law. She served as a Teaching Fellow in Legal Research and Writing while in law school at Stetson University College of Law.
Ms. Ohall has published several articles related to estate planning and asset protection and she is a speaker in the elder law, estate planning and probate related fields for the National Business Institute. She is also a frequent lecturer at community events for topics related to estate planning basics, Medicaid and VA benefits.
Top 10 Reasons People Procrastinate about Estate Planning
Are you guilty, as most American adults are, of putting off your estate planning? As an , I've heard all of the excuses as to why --
- They are intimidated by the process. Estate planning does not have to be intimidating – you just need to know what to expect. Most attorneys will have you fill out a questionnaire that lists your assets and liabilities and asks you questions like, “Who do you want to appoint as your personal representative of your estate” or “Who do you want to appoint as your agent under a Durable Power of Attorney?” You should come prepared to the initial consultation with any documentation you want the attorney to review, or any questions you have for the attorney. The attorney will review your goals and make suggestions or recommendations. The consultation generally takes one to two hours, and then there is a follow-up meeting to sign your planning documents which takes about an hour. It’s pretty simple.
- They just don’t care. Some clients tell me that they intend on spending every dime before they die, to which I say, “Go for it!” However, what about the things that could happen to you before you die? What if you become incapacitated? Who will pay your bills? Make healthcare decisions on your behalf? Estate planning is not about planning for death, it’s also about planning for incapacity.
- Not sure who they’d appoint as personal representative, agent under a power of attorney or health care surrogate. Certainly, these can be tough decisions, but that’s not a good reason to procrastinate. If you do not have family that you can trust, look to your friends, a pastor, a bank representative, a trust company, or even your own attorney.
- Think they are too young. Remember Terri Schiavo? She was 26 years old when she suffered cardiac arrest which left her in a vegetative state. If she would have had a durable power of attorney, living will and health care surrogate designation, you may never have heard of her. Her situation is the perfect example of how you are never too young (if you are an adult) to do your estate planning.
- Think it’s too expensive. The cost to do your estate planning really depends on what area of the country you live in, and whether you choose to have an attorney prepare the documents. You could “do it yourself” by purchasing software, or buying forms from your local office supply store. However, if you have a complicated situation, it might be smarter to utilize the services of an attorney.
- They don’t have time. The process doesn’t really take that long (see #1 above), but you have to make the time to fill out some paperwork and meet with an attorney (or answer the questions on software if you are going to do it yourself).
- They don’t think they have enough assets to worry about it. As I’ve already stated, the Last Will and Testament (which governs what happens at death) is not the only document an individual should have. You need to appoint someone who can deal with your finances and health care decisions should you be unable to do so, and that’s where a Durable Power of Attorney, Living Will and Health Care surrogate designation come in. These documents allow you to appoint someone that you trust to make financial decisions and health care decisions for you in the event that you become incapacitated and while you are still alive.
- They think it will get done when they are gone. Notwithstanding what I’ve already covered regarding incapacity issues that could arise prior to death, yes, it very likely will get taken care of after you are gone. However, if you do a little planning, you could make it easier on your loved ones.
- It’s too complicated (so they stick their head in the sand). It doesn’t have to be complicated, and if you think it is, see #1.
10.They don’t want to think about their mortality. Ok, that I understand. Who wants to think about their mortality? No one that I know. However, once you’ve accomplished the process, you will have peace of mind knowing that your affairs are in order!