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Estate Planning During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered our daily lives. During this time, it is especially important to have proper estate planning documents to control the disposition of assets at death and to enable others to make our financial and medical decisions if we are unable.

Imagen a scenario where you suddenly find yourself sick in the hospital, and no longer able to manage your assets, pay your bills, or make your own medical decision.

If this happens to you without proper Estate Planning documents in place, you and your family could be at serious financial and medical risk.

Common issues family face when their loved one is incapacitated without proposer estate planning documents.

  • Inability to access your bank account to pay bills
  • No legal authority to write a check or apply for medical insurance/benefits to pay for your hospital stay
  • No power to make medical decisions on your behalf
  • Long, stressful court hearings to get the legal authority to make a financial and medical decision on your behalf

In the current COVID-19 climate, this is a serious concern.

Fortunately, with proper estate planning, you and your family can protect from these types of situations. Here are some essential Estate Planning documents you need to make during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak to protect you and your family.

A Will:

Your Will only becomes operative at death.  This document controls assets that you own that are not owned jointly with a right of survivorship, have a “transfer on death” or “pay on death” designation, or are governed by a beneficiary designation (naming someone other than your estate).  The person that handles your affairs pursuant to the terms of your Will is your Executor.

Financial Power of Attorney (“FPOA”):

Your FPOA appoints a substitute decision maker (your agent) to act on your behalf as it relates to financial matters (i.e. paying bills, entering into real estate transaction, etc.).  Your FPOA is only effective during your lifetime.  Your FPOA canspring into effect upon incapacity or be effective immediately at the creator’s choosing.  

Healthcare Power of Attorney (“HCPOA”):

Much like your FPOA, your HCPOA appoints a substitute decision maker to act on your behalf as it relates to health care decisions (i.e. admission to a nursing facility).  Your HCPOA is only effective during your lifetime and becomes effective when you are unable to make or communicate decisions yourself.

Living Will:

Your Living Will sets forth your intentions as it relates to certain end-of-life care matters (i.e. do you want a feeding tube; do you want to donate your organs?)  Putting these wishes in writing and discussing them with your HCPOA and other loved ones can prevent your family from speculating as to what your wishes may be and from the emotions that come with making such decisions on your behalf.

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