Posted by Dana Law Group on September 8, 2020
No one really wants to think about planning their estate. It’s complicated: You need to break down everything you own and consider your family members and close friends. But estate planning is an urgent priority now more than ever. During COVID-19, many have become aware that they aren’t prepared for the distribution of their estate.
Many people think of an estate plan as a last will and testament. While that’s part of it, an estate plan also covers who is financially and medical in charge in the event that someone is incapacitated. With many people experiencing major medical disruption due to COVID-19, this is incredibly important. People need to be able to set their own power-of-attorney for medical, legal, and financial issues, in the event that they aren’t in the condition to manage these situations themselves.
This also means that people should plan for “do not resuscitate” orders and similar medical interventions — and think about whether they want to be an organ donor or not. While these are very serious decisions to make, they’re also of critical importance.
No one really knows when they will need a will. With COVID-19, everything is very uncertain — in ways that make more specific planning important. It isn’t just about having a will in the event that someone passes. It’s also about forming the will in a way that acknowledges modern complexities. For instance, if someone and their spouse pass on due to COVID-19, are there still provisions? Is there a comprehensive list of who will take care of children, in the event that some people aren’t able to, due to health?
People can go a decade without updating their will, after which they might realize that the people in their will no longer reflect their current lives. Someone specified to take care of children, for instance, might be in a different stage of life entirely and unable to take care of children.
In addition to managing inheritance issues, a will can also define what someone wants to happen during their final arrangements. Those who are concerned about the financial aspect can pay for their final arrangements in advance, which ensures that they get what they want and ensures that their family doesn’t have to worry about payment. During difficult and complex times, this can be extremely beneficial.
The final element of estate planning involves talking to other family members. Family members should always be aware of the plans should one pass on — this reduces the chances that there could be costly and time-consuming disputes. During COVID-19, everyone needs to feel comfortable and as though plans have been made. It’s an uncertain time and having some level of security can make families feel better.
Planning ahead takes the burden off your family. It also offers peace-of-mind: You’ll be aware of what will happen in the event that you experience a major medical issue, such as COVID-19. The best thing to do is just to get started.