Estate Planning in a Time of Uncertainty
Updated: Dec 22, 2020
A massive and unprecedented interruption on our daily lives. Social distancing, self quarantine and limited social gatherings have become our “new norm”. Who would have thought that in our lifetime we would be using such terms or actually putting them to use?
The effects of the coronavirus most certainly have the majority of us feeling much anxiety. The fear of not knowing what the future will hold has us on edge and questioning everything. What happens if I fall ill? What if I get hospitalized? What if I can’t go to the bank or access my money? These are probably some of the questions running through your mind more recently than ever.
For those considered ‘high risk’, the worry is that much greater. Not being able to leave our homes or only going out for essentials has put us all in limited capabilities. Having an estate plan in order will help ease some of the stresses associated with the current situation we are facing and for anything else that could potentially come our way. Now is the time more than ever to make a plan.
Having an estate plan is not only for those that are married, wealthy or ill. An estate plan is for any adult that wants to appoint someone that will carry out their wishes in the event that they are not able to do so themselves. Think of someone that you trust and that will be able to make those decisions in your best interest. Most importantly, make sure that you consult with a licensed estate planning attorney to ensure that you are taking the appropriate measures that will most benefit your estate.
The following list has the recommended documents to help get you started on your estate plan:
Durable Power of Attorney: Gives you, as principal, the ability to authorize an agent to carry out any legal, financial, or business obligations on your behalf while you are living. Some examples include going to the bank and withdrawing funds, opening or closing accounts or simply filing your taxes.
Health Care Surrogate: Designates who you want to make decisions regarding your health care and medical treatment if you are ever unable to make or communicate those decisions on your own. Falling sick and being hospitalized is one of the most vulnerable situations we can ever be placed in. Knowing that you have designated someone ahead of time gives you peace of mind knowing that you are being properly cared for, even when you can’t say how.
Living Will: Declares your values and desires regarding the use or withholding of life support or heroic life saving measures. This is a conversation most of us don’t want to have, but, having an open conversation with your loved ones and your designated person will ensure that your wishes are clear and will be properly met.
Revocable Trust: A separate legal entity created by you. A trust may serve several purposes including: helping to avoid probate or limiting tax liability. Many people create Trusts to avoid legal fees associated with Probate. The Trust allows you to place your assets into it and state how you want those assets handled after your death. You are able to modify a revocable trust during your lifetime.
Last Will & Testament: A legal instrument which communicates your final wishes regarding your “probatable” estate. If your estate goes to Probate, your heirs will have to hire an attorney and a Judge will oversee the distribution of your assets. Having a Will ahead of time allows you to clarify how you want your assets distributed upon your passing.
Most of the documents mentioned above will need to be properly executed for them to be valid and in full force. Social distancing has made this a bit of a challenge for most law offices. We are currently implementing a drive-up execution service with limited contact. Remote Online Notarization will be available in the coming weeks and may be available for anyone that has an internet connection.
We are taking this most critical time day by day in the hopes that things will return to “normal” as soon as possible. The mental and physical health of our clients and their families, our community and our team remain the top priority for us in these uncertain times.
Reach out to us today for any questions you may have about estate planning and advance directives. Our attorneys are ready to draft an estate plan that will not only provide you with peace of mind but serve to protect your future.
Call us at 561-588-7512 or 888-552-7512 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org