Estate Planning In The Pandemic Age: It’s Time To Prepare For The Unexpected. The impact of Covid-19 has affected all of us in different ways. With quarantine and social distancing orders, the pace of life has changed.
While this unprecedented time has been undeniably difficult, it has given many people a chance to spend more quality time with loved ones (speaking from experience with an 8-month-old at home). It has also provided a space for thoughtfulness, reflection and reevaluation regarding what’s really important in life: family, health, happiness.
Because of this, you may have noticed that some important questions have begun bubbling to the surface: Are my loved ones protected? What if something were to happen to me tomorrow? Should I have a plan in place for the future?
When you get caught up in the everyday routine of life, it’s easy to push your end-of-life planning aside. But with more flexibility in your schedule, now is the time to prioritize creating (or updating) your trust or will. Fortunately, you have plenty of options for setting up a comprehensive estate plan. In addition to an in-person meeting with an attorney, you also have the option of setting up a plan from the comfort of your home thanks to emerging online services.
Here are some factors to consider when embarking on your estate planning journey:
Have You Been Procrastinating?
Procrastination is not only normal, it’s absolutely understandable. No one really wants to think about the end of their life. However, the alternative is that something happens to you before having a proper plan in place. That’s why it’s time to put your procrastination to a stop.
Creating a trust or will so you can nominate guardians for your children, decide how your assets should be distributed after your death and specify your final arrangement wishes can help you gain peace of mind and get back to enjoying life.
It’s easy to assume that estate planning is only for the wealthy or elderly. However, anyone over the age of 18 should start thinking about their estate plan — regardless of income level. In addition, there’s so much more to estate planning than the distribution of assets. More importantly, you are protecting your loved ones in the case something were to unexpectedly happen to you. Here are some key areas to cover in your trust or will:
• Defining arrangements for important family keepsakes and items.
• Laying out a plan for long-term health care.
• Naming guardians for minors and dependents.
• Communicating final wishes, funeral arrangements and burial requests.
• Clarifying the distribution of assets.
Your estate plan can also include policies that help provide your family members with a budget to help pay for health care, end-of-life expenses or outstanding debts.
Do You Have Key Documents In Place?
Having a proper estate plan can give you a sense of control and relief. You’ll feel safe knowing your family and legacy will be protected long after you’re gone.
With this, it’s important for your plan to be thorough. There are several key documents that are generally recommended:
• Will or trust
• Power of attorney
• Living will
• Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) authorization
• Designation of guardianship
• Insurance policies (life and disability)
Is Your Existing Plan Up To Date?
If you already have an existing estate plan, you’re one step ahead of the game. However, can you remember how long it’s been since you revisited your estate planning documents? Many things can change during the course of life, whether they be regarding your assets or beneficiaries, and your estate plan should reflect those changes.
Marriage, divorce, the purchase of a new home, the birth of a child or grandchild or a death in the family are just a few examples of life events that warrant updating your will or trust. It’s also a good idea to revisit your plan every three to five years.
Don’t let Covid-19 act as a deterrent that prevents you from prioritizing your end-of-life planning. These uncertain times should be a strong reminder that anything can happen no matter how secure things feel. Estate planning should be inclusive, accessible and affordable for all because everyone deserves peace of mind.
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