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Estate Planning During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Estate Planning During the COVID-19 Pandemic

A groups of professionals are talking to a senior

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many to turn their thoughts to the “what ifs” of end-of-life planning, yet estate planning becomes more difficult when legal teams are under stay-at-home orders and keeping their firms closed. For those who are ready to make changes to their estate plan, this time of introspection provides an excellent opportunity to start with the help of an estate planning lawyer.

Why Make an Estate Plan?

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that all it takes is an illness to put someone’s life at risk. Without an estate plan, an individual’s estate is at the mercy of the probate courts, which may result in an undesirable asset distribution after death. An estate planning lawyer can protect an individual’s hard-earned assets from getting stuck in the probate court or distributed in the wrong manner after an unexpected death.

Questions to Ask About an Estate Plan

Those who are using the COVID-19 pandemic to think more about their own estate plans can ask specific questions to help start the thinking process.

  • Who will care for any minor children or other dependents after the individual’s death?
  • Who will be the primary beneficiary of the estate?
  • Who will make end-of-life medical decisions of the individual cannot make them?
  • How will the estate be protected against taxes?

The answers to these questions, with the help of an estate planning lawyer, can guide the decision-making process.

Estate Planning While Staying at Home

One consideration people must make during COVID-19 is the issue of estate planning while under stay-at-home orders. To help their clients with their needs during the at-home mandate, many firms are offering virtual services. Under the Illinois stay-at-home orders, notarizing and witnessing of wills and other end-of-life documents is now allowed via video conferencing, so the entire process is possible without meeting in-person. This means that the stay-at-home order does not prevent individuals from creating their estate plans.

The Need for a Healthcare Power of Attorney Highlighted by COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded many individuals of the need for a Healthcare Power of Attorney. This document states both what an individual’s end-of-life healthcare wishes are, and which person they name to make healthcare decisions if they cannot make them for themselves. This is invaluable, especially in light of a fatal pandemic, because it frees family from difficult and emotional disagreements should someone’s life be at stake after a medical crisis.

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