Estate planning during a pandemic should be prioritized.
The pandemic has changed much about how we approach daily life.
People are sanitizing frequently.
Friends are appreciating the value of in-person interactions.
Parents are simultaneously enjoying time with their children and feeling overwhelmed with managing work and the learning environment for their children.
According to a recent The Pointe Vedra Recorder article titled “Estate planning during a pandemic: steps to take,” the pandemic has also underscored the necessity of estate planning.
Those who have neglected estate planning in the past should take steps to guard against the uncertainty of the pandemic.
Those who currently have an estate plan should review and update their plan if it has been a few years or if there have been significant life changes since their plan was created.
What estate planning documents might you need during a pandemic?
Last will and testament
A last will and testament is the foundational document for most estate plans.
With a last will and testament, you can designate who you want to receive your asset when you die and who will rear your minor children if you and your spouse both pass away.
Financial power of attorney
If you fall ill during the pandemic, you still have basic bills to pay.
By designating an agent with your financial power of attorney, you can rest and recover knowing you have someone to write checks, make deposits, and pay your utilities.
If bypassing probate is an important estate planning goal for you and your family, a living trust is a wise choice.
You can provide more detailed instructions and retain more control in the distributions of assets.
Your heirs can begin receiving their inheritance immediately without having to wait for probate proceedings.
If you choose, you can also spread out distributions over time or keep them protected in a long-term inheritance trust.
The latter move can be very savvy, especially if you want to protect the inheritance from squandering, divorces, lawsuits, and bankruptcies.
Lions and tigers and bears … oh my!
Advance Health Care Directive
Having this document, without saying, is essential in the midst of a pandemic.
If you get sick, there is a possibility of becoming incapacitated.
You will want a trusted individual who knows your wishes to make health care decisions on your behalf.
An advance health care directive also allows this agent to discuss you situation with doctors.
Health Care Treatment Directive
Also known as a “living will” (and oftentimes confused with a “living trust”), this legal documents allows you commit to writing the end-of-life care you want or do not want.
Discuss this carefully with an experienced estate planning attorney because the wording could prevent you from being placed on a ventilator for COVID-19 treatment.
Because estate planning involves preparing for death and illness, it is important to have your affairs in order during a pandemic.
Reference: Pointe Vedra (Beach, FL) Recorder (July 16, 2020) “Estate planning during a pandemic: steps to take”