The Elder and Disability Law Firm, APC April 6, 2020

The COVID19 worldwide health crisis has brought our nation to a level of emergency status that has impacted us all on a personal level.  It has raised many questions and concerns on healthcare directives, powers of attorney and getting documents signed. Estate planning during a time of crisis is more important than ever.  Here are a few tips to consider when looking over your current plan or moving forward to getting one done:

  1. Documents – up to date & are what you want done:  Are all the documents current and up to date?  Do they reflect your wishes? When moments like this happen, we consider the impact of what we want in place for ourselves and the legacy we want to leave for our loved ones.  Now would be the perfect time to review your existing estate plan’s documents to ensure they meet the current legal standards and they reflect your thoughts and wishes. Ask these questions while you are going through your documents:

    • First off, do you know where your original estate plan is located?

    • Since you finalized your estate plan, have there been any major life changes:  marital status, births, deaths, residential changes, major asset purchases or sales, sold a property locally or in another state/country?

    • Have there been any beneficiary designation changes to your retirement accounts and life insurance policies?  Are the beneficiary designations up to date? Any new life insurance policies or new/closed retirement accounts?

    • Are the named executors (in your will) and trustees (in your trusts), as well as all successors, suitable, able, and willing to serve?

    • Do the provisions of your estate plan direct that your property pass to the people and/or charities you wish to benefit in a manner that reflects your wishes and the needs and best interests of those beneficiaries?   

  2. Powers of Attorney and Directives – up to date & you have on-hand copies:  Are the powers of attorney and advanced healthcare directives up to date?  Your advanced directives should express your wishes and authorize your agents to enact on your behalf for health care decisions and financial decisions.

    • Have you reviewed these directives to be sure they reflect the current legal standards and reflect your wishes?

    • Have you talked with your agent(s) so they know what your wishes are and are prepared to make decisions for you?  Do you need to update who this is or who these are?

  3. Doing an estate plan right now – focus on getting one done if you have not yet.

    • It is normal for people to put off doing a will or a trust or getting it completed.  The COVID19 crisis has reminded us that there are legal ramifications to not having our wishes down on acceptable legal documents that will be approved and how important our wishes are for the legacy we want to leave our loved ones or charities.  We encourage you to establish an estate plan now to the best of your ability, knowing that it can be revised in the future with ease.

  4. Dealing with the “new normal”:  We all need for a good estate plan.  That will focus you and your loved ones’ through any crisis and provide a peace of mind that will be priceless.

COVID19 made us acutely aware that our world is a small one.  This crisis impacted our lives as we watched it develop and impact one nation then to the next one and, finally, to our own backyard.  There may be unknowns yet for us to face, such as our economy, but what is known, is that this too shall pass, and we can focus on what matters most – is to keep carrying on.  It will be behind us; we will carry on and we can rise up to the occasion and be prepared. 

With warm regards,

The Elder & Disability Law Firm