Most of us have never been faced with a major pandemic such as COVID-19. It may prompt some of us to think about the kind of life we want to leave for our families, while choosing the best strategies for staying safe from the virus, working from home, and doing all we can to adjust to a new normal.
With COVID-19 responsible for financial and family loss, it’s time to take care of our estate planning business! While you might not want to discuss matters involving an untimely demise, it is important to begin to share what you want to leave behind for your children and your children’s children. From your home to your jewelry there are many things of value that should be considered when planning. Here are three things you should know about planning during uncertain times:
You should still obtain legal advice
In case there is another stay-at-home order, with mandates varying from state to state, you should consult with an estate planning attorney in person, ASAP. You’ll want to talk to someone highly skilled in estate planning that can provide guidance to help you construct your documentation. In-person and virtual meetings, if quarantined, still provide options for us to advise you and your loved ones on the best strategies for planning out the distribution of your assets upon your incapacitation or demise. Please note, however, that although virtual meetings are wholly legitimate where authorized by state, it is advisable for you to plan to meet in person with your attorney, once the coast is clear, when you’ve established your plan virtually.
Disinterested parties should be present
When signing your estate plan, witnesses are required. Your witness should be a disinterested individual that can testify to your signing if your documents are ever challenged. Disinterested parties typically are not slated to inherit anything but they are required to serve as witnesses when it comes to estate planning. However, it is likely that your disinterested parties do not reside in your household, and with flu season around the corner and the potential for another COVID spike, you’ll want to minimize your interaction with those who live outside your home to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Now is the time to take care of this.
Remote online notarization
Many state lawmakers are allowing residents the opportunity to engage in estate planning while staying safe at home. Activities such as remote witnessing of wills, powers of attorney, health care proxies, deed signing and more are now allowed in many states, but you should consult with an estate attorney near your home to find out what is available where you live. Our office has been conducting most of our meetings and notarizations virtually, within the rules, and the process has been seamless. We will, however, meet in person for elderly individuals with no online capabilities. We make it work so that your interests can be served and fulfilled.
We hope the uncertainty of COVID-19 will end rapidly and finally. We warn you, however, to avoid procrastination. Estate planning during a pandemic gives you and your loved ones peace of mind today. Now is the time to create a roadmap that will distribute a legacy that will last for generations to come. Contact our office to get started on your estate planning. Now is the time!