COVID-19 should not interfere with your estate planning.
Your life feels like it is on hold.
Maybe the days feel like months, like when the waves turn the minutes to hours.
You cannot remember if it is Monday or Thursday.
COVID-19 has interfered with work, events, and family gatherings.
According to a recent Kiplinger article titled “How to Get Your Estate Plan Done While Under Coronavirus Quarantine,” COVID-19 does not need to stop your estate planning.
Death and incapacity do not stop in the midst of a pandemic.
Death does not take a holiday.
Waiting for the end of COVID-19 is not an option.
If you do not have an estate plan in place, now is the time for you to take action.
What do you need?
Last Will and Testament.
This allows you to designate who inherits your assets (not already designated to bypass probate), who executes your estate, and who rears your minor children.
Remember, a last will does not control assets designated to bypass probate through beneficiary designations, funded living trusts, or when held in joint tenancy with rights of survivorship.
Power of Attorney.
A power of attorney allows you to designate an agent to manage your financial affairs if you are incapacitated.
Advance Health Care Directive.
If you are incapacitated, you will not be able to make medical decisions or communicate them to your doctors.
With an advance health care directive in place as part of your estate planning, you can outline your wishes and appoint an individual you trust to make decisions on your behalf.
If you are in a hospital, your doctors cannot share your medical information with others unless you grant permission.
This is especially important when it comes to the agent you have appointed to make health care decisions on your behalf.
For your estate plan to be legally valid, you will commonly need two witnesses and a notary.
Experienced estate planning attorneys will be able to create a plan to meet your needs and can help arrange for witnesses and a notary to meet COVID-19 social distancing standards.
Reference: Kiplinger (March 30, 2020) “How to Get Your Estate Plan Done While Under Coronavirus Quarantine”