The COVID-19 crisis has made many people think seriously about their mortality – and often their failure to plan for the worst case scenario. Coronavirus may impact your estate plan in many ways, including:
Your Need May Be Immediate
If you have procrastinated about making an estate plan, you may be worried and scrambling to get plans in place. This may make your need to get an estate plan in place more urgent. Taking the first step of talking to an estate planning lawyer can help you get started. Your documents can be prepared shortly after your initial consultation.
You Need to Think About Short-Term Plans
If you do become ill with COVID-19, the flu, or pneumonia, you may need to have a plan in place that helps during a short-term illness. You can usually account for this short-term need by establishing a healthcare power of attorney. The agent you nominate will be able to make important medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to communicate them on your own.
You can also establish a durable power of attorney that names an agent who can cash your checks, pay your bills, and maintain your financial affairs while you are ill.
It May Be Time to Make Changes
If you have an estate plan in place but it has been some time since you have made any changes, now may be the time to review it. There may have been important changes in your life that justify changes, such as the birth of a child, a marriage, a divorce, or a change in your assets. You can set up a consultation with a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer to review your estate plan and to make any necessary changes.
You May Need to Provide Electronic Signatures
With stay-at-home orders in place, you may need to sign legal documents, but you may not be able to leave your home. In many situations, you can have organizations or firms send you documents through email and you can sign them electronically. For example, you may need to sign a HIPAA waiver so someone else can access your medical records. These signatures usually carry as much weight as a handwritten signature, but there are some exceptions.
Notarization May Be More Difficult
While you can execute many legal documents without having to notarize them, many attorneys recommend taking this extra step for an additional layer of protection. During the pandemic, it may be more difficult to get out and get to a notary public. However, many states, including California, have mobile notaries who can drive to your location. They can practice social distancing while still complying with relevant laws.
Contact Us to Protect Your Interests
If you are concerned about your estate plan or need to put one in place to protect yourself, your family, and your legacy, contact us to learn more. We can discuss your needs and how we can meet them during this difficult time.