In recent months, as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has swept across the world, people are facing serious decisions and struggling with what the future will hold. This time reminds us of how fragile we are, and it may prompt us to take concrete steps to better protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our legacies. Even younger people are contemplating the benefits of putting an estate plan in place, as we never fully know what the future may bring. Here’s what you need to know about estate planning in the time of the COVID-19 outbreak, and how you can take some simple actions today to safeguard your future.
Estate Planning Basics
An estate plan can be as simple or as complex as you’d like it to be. Depending on your assets, your circumstances, and your vision for your legacy, there are various aspects to take into consideration. While most people assume that an estate plan is really just another term for a will, an estate plan actually includes several additional documents that further protect your wishes for the future. A simple estate plan could include a last will and testament, a living will (also known as an advance healthcare directive), a health care power of attorney, and a financial power of attorney. However, these items can be customized according to your specific needs and vision, so discuss your ideas and your concerns with an estate planning attorney before you start to put everything in place.
Crucial Documents During This Moment in Time
While all aspects of the estate planning process are important, perhaps it’s best to focus on two crucial documents that may be especially important in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s recommended that individuals over the age of 18 assign a financial power of attorney and establish a medical power of attorney as soon as possible. Should you become quarantined in your home or become severely incapacitated due to illness, you’ll be glad that you designated a trusted individual to carry out financial and banking transactions on your behalf. Similarly, if you become unconscious or otherwise unable to make important medical decisions on your own, a health care power of attorney can step in and make sure you receive your preferred treatments. Without these documents in place, there may be lengthy legal disputes that erupt as the court must intervene and assign these roles, which—given the temporary closures of courts around the country—could prove exceptionally difficult.
How an Attorney Can Help
Although it may be tempting to create a will or other estate planning documents using cheaper tools online, what you save in the short-term can cost you valuable time and money in the long run. Many of these online services are not tailored to address your specific needs, leaving you vulnerable to ambiguities and legal disputes down the road. Working with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney is the safest way to ensure that your health, finances, and future are fully protected.
As the coronavirus outbreak continues to affect our daily lives, Legacy Law Group remains committed to providing you with the support and guidance you need during this uncertain time. Reach out to our Spokane Valley office at (509) 315-8087 today to speak to a dedicated and knowledgeable estate planning attorney today.