With COVID-19 at the forefront of everyone’s mind, many who have been holding off on estate planning are now prompted to quickly finalize estate plans so they will have something in place should illness or worse come calling. Without an estate plan in place, you will have to rely on state laws and probate courts to appoint individuals who will be responsible for your financial affairs and health-care decisions in the case of illness or death.
It’s important to plan for what the future holds by taking time now to ensure your papers are in order.
Documents to Review During these Unpredictable Times
- Power of Attorney—The power of attorney gives an appointed person the ability to pay bills, write checks, make deposits, sell or purchase assets, and sign tax returns on your behalf should you become incapacitated. Any competent adult can serve as your agent; however, it should be someone you trust to be honest, who exhibits common sense, and who is willing to follow through on your requests.
- Health-Care Proxy—Similar to a power of attorney, a health-care proxy gives an appointed person the authority to make health-care decisions on your behalf if you are incompetent or incapacitated. If you are don’t have a health-care proxy appointed, your family members will have to request that the probate court appoint someone to make important health-care decisions on your behalf.
- Last Will and Testament—A last will and testament allows you to direct distributions of your property at the time of your death. Without a will, there is no direction as to how your assets will be distributed. This piece also covers your intentions for the care for any minor children. Distribution of your assets will be handled by the state and the court will decide on the best person to oversee the administration of your estate if you do not have this form in place.
Recognizing that life can send us on unexpected turns and dips along our journey, means that we need to remain diligent with our planning and adjust accordingly. You may find that, with COVID-19 still wreaking havoc, now is an opportune time to review, make updates, and to implement new estate planning strategies.
Having an estate plan in place and reviewing the corresponding paperwork is one step to giving you peace of mind. Call today to ask questions, make changes, and make sure your journey through life is still on the right road!