What the COVID-19 Pandemic Teaches About Estate Planning in an Emergency
After several weeks of working from home and only leaving the home for essential reasons, the nation continues to feel the impact of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. While some news outlets report that the curve may be leveling in Florida other experts indicate that the reopening will spark a new resurgence. Because new information is day-to-day, residents in all parts of the state should continue social distancing and common sense health measures. Still, many people are hoping for some good news about reopening and getting back to life.
Lessons continue to be learned about the pandemic at all levels, nationally, statewide, and even right in your own home. One that impacts you personally is your estate plan, an issue that many people put on the shelf – until an emergency like the COVID-19 pandemic strikes. Here are some takeaways that should persuade you to reach out to a Florida estate planning attorney.
- You Need the Fundamental Documents in Place: Whether you’re preparing your estate plan for the first time or already executed some documents, make sure your arrangement includes the basics:
- A will that names your executor, provides for a successor, and indicates your wishes regarding distributions to beneficiaries;
- A Designation of Health Care Surrogate, in which you appoint an agent to make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated; and,
- A Durable Power of Attorney that indicates a person to manage your financial affairs if you’re unable to do so.
- Now is a Good Time for an Estate Planning Review: If you have one or more of the basic documents in place, take time to go over the provisions to ensure they still align with your goals. Anyone who has not completed the fundamental paperwork should consider working with an estate planning lawyer to round out the package.
- Discuss Basics with Your Health Care Surrogate: COVID-19 is obviously a public health crisis, so sit down for a conversation with the agent you appointed in your health care power of attorney. Go over the important points and provide a more in-depth explanation where necessary for clarity.
- Make Copies: You’ll store the originals in safekeeping as instructed by your attorney, but you should make a few copies of your estate planning documents for others. Make sure your executor and agents have their respective paperwork, and give others to close family members. A tip: Don’t keep your will and powers of attorney in a bank safe deposit box. Those who will be acting on your behalf need access, which can be challenging in such an arrangement.
- Always Trust Your Dade City, FL Estate Planning Lawyer
Estate planning is an ongoing, dynamic process that you develop over time. Emergencies may come and go, but you can feel confident about your situation when you have the basic arrangements in place. To learn more about how we can help during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, please contact the Dade City estate planning lawyer at The Law Office of Laurie R. Chane. You can set up a consultation by calling 352-567-0055 or completing our online contact form.