Preparing for the Worst: How to Plan Your Estate in the Midst of Covid-19
As of mid-March, confirmed cases of coronavirus in the US are steadily climbing. In fact, it is now considered a pandemic with more than 150,000 cases confirmed globally. Due to the rapid transmission of the virus through sneezing, coughing and other bodily fluid, people have been instructed to remain in their homes until the number of cases drops and until it is no longer considered a pandemic.
If you haven’t written up a will document by now, it might be a good time to consider one. If you have written one up in the past, now is a good time to make sure it is up to date. Here is a list of documents you might want to consider reviewing:
List of beneficiaries – financial institutions, IRA’s, retirement funds and life insurance policies are able to designate a beneficiary upon your passing if you have not done so. Make sure your list is up to date and if you would like to add or remove anyone, that it is done so correctly and in your will document/codicil as well.
Financial power of attorney – this is important as it allows you to designate someone to make financial decisions on your behalf should you not be able to do so. This is especially important if you are a business-owner or elderly person.
Health care surrogate – here, you can appoint someone to make healthcare decisions on your behalf, perhaps a loved one you trust.
Medical power of attorney for minor child – have you given someone the authority to take your children to a healthcare professional if you are unable to do so? This is especially important if you need to quarantine yourself and cannot care for your child. Medical Power of Attorney allows parents to give the responsibility to a family member on your behalf. This is a document people often overlook in an emergency.
Living Will – this will help your healthcare providers know what your decision is when it comes to difficult issues, such as whether or not you wish to remain on life support.
With all the chaos happening globally at the moment, it can be challenging to sit down and get your affairs in order, especially during a stressful time. It is important, however, to ensure all the above-mentioned documents are correct, legal and up to date if you wish to maintain control over your assets and estate in the event of your passing. Planning your estate doesn’t necessarily mean you anticipate your death in the near future, however, it allows you to prepare to the worst case scenario during an unpredictable time.
Be sure to consider whether or not there have been any births or deaths within your family or friend group, and remove or add these into your documentation accordingly. If you have all your paperwork stored safely, this process shouldn’t take you too long. If you need to get into contact with a lawyer, you should do so as soon as possible to confirm your documents. You might even be able to hold a virtual meeting via video call!